Balloons, relief at Dutch airport as tourists beat variant shutdown

Relieved passengers on a flight from South Africa streamed into Amsterdam's Schiphol airport Saturday, in stark contrast to the previous day when fears about a new Covid-19 variant sparked chaos.

Schiphol Airport, South Africa

11/28/2021 12:02:00 AM

Relieved passengers on a flight from South Africa streamed into Amsterdam's Schiphol airport Saturday, in stark contrast to the previous day when fears about a new Covid-19 variant sparked chaos.

Relieved passengers on a flight from South Africa streamed into Amsterdam's Schiphol airport Saturday, in stark contrast to the previous day when fears about a new Covid-19 variant sparked chaos.

The mood was very different the previous day, when passengers aboard two flights spent hours mired at Schiphol while tests revealed that 61 out of the 600 passengers had coronavirus, with some possibly having the new Omicron strain which has governments worldwide worried.

"We were scared of having to go back into quarantine," said Mariam van der Veen, an air hostess who was on holiday in South Africa with her husband Alexander."The funny thing is... nobody said anything to us," a visibly relieved Van der Veen, 58, told AFP.

Her husband added: "We heard there was a new variant and maybe it would be impossible to go back after the weekend. So we decided not to wait (in South Africa) under these circumstances and booked a flight home."- 'Variant panic' -In all 161 people made it back Saturday aboard the sole KLM flight from Johannesburg, blending seamlessly with other arrivals from Istanbul and Atlanta as they plucked luggage from the conveyor belts.

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At least 107 other passengers were stopped from boarding as they did not comply with new Dutch government rules hastily announced on Friday.These bar entry to all passengers from southern African countries except for Dutch and EU residents who can show a negative Covid test taken within 24 hours of boarding the plane.

"Each person is dealing with an individual situation. We cannot say when these people will be able to return," KLM spokesman Remco Rous told AFP.Since the emergence of the new strain, one country after another has banned flights from southern Africa in what New York Times global health reporter Stephanie Nolen -- who was on one of the flights to Schiphol -- termed "variant panic."

Story continuesOn Friday passengers arriving at Schiphol had to endure hours of waiting -- first on the plane and then in a cramped arrival hall "were people were breathing on each other" and many people failed to wear face masks, Nolen tweeted.

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Passenger Paula Zimmerman who documented her night via videos posted on Twitter and finally tested negative, said the "organisation was terrible unfortunately. Lessons to be learned for future."- 'Flying first class' -Dutch health authorities said on Saturday that some of the 61 who tested Covid positive and are now in hotel quarantine "probably" had the new variant.

"This was an extraordinary situation, unique, because the measures changed while people were on the plane," said Stefan Donker, spokesman for Schiphol."Coronavirus is something unexpected and it proves to be always more unexpected," he told AFP.

While passengers who missed connecting flights because of Friday evening's hold-up were fuming, those arriving on Saturday had a much smoother transit -- and those whose destination was the Netherlands were hugely relieved."We were all tense and little bit worried," said Rita Kizito, a professor teaching in the Netherlands, but things went "surprisingly very smoothly."

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Kizito said she was let through border controls with health officials accepting her South African test results.And, a plane that's not full had added benefits."For the first time in economy class I was able to stretch my legs, because I had full three seats to myself," she said.

"I thought, my goodness, I'm flying first class today!"jf/jhe/dk/pvhOur goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting

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Delta, United not revising South Africa flights amid variant concernsDelta Air Lines and United Airlines said on Friday they do not plan any changes to their South Africa -U.S. routes after the White House said it plans to impose new travel curbs on southern Africa starting Monday amid concerns about a new COVID-19 variant.

South Africa Braces For COVID-19 Wave Propelled By OmicronThe variant appears to be spreading more rapidly among young people in their 20s and 30s, alarming health professionals. Bullshit Did we really think they hadn't made one for our age group yet? I saw several people testifying of how they made financial profits with the help of Kimberly Alexander from crypto trading, and I decided to give it a try and now I'm happy for getting my payout earning $15k profits from crypto trading. Dm her now thekimal and get started

Explainer: What we know about the COVID-19 variant detected in South AfricaGlobal authorities have reacted with alarm to a coronavirus variant detected in South Africa , with the EU, Britain and India among those announcing stricter border controls as scientists seek to determine if the mutation is vaccine-resistant. 'It's pretty bad' ADE

South Africa Finds New Variant Of COVID-19 With 'Constellation Of Mutations'The United Kingdom temporarily barred flights from six African nations amid fears over the new coronavirus strain. wow AS long as most of the world, especially developing nations, remain unvaccinated, variants will find fertile ground. There is risk of vaccine-resistant variant emerging. Global vaccination is needed! UK Germn Frnce Portgl NL Belgm etc engulfed in COVID Calamity+New Shutdowns(Asia Aus too), Africa got New Multi-Varient strain But CDA Ont Que etc Just Re-Opened Airprt,Border, full 100% Indoor Events& Everything But Our COVD s Trippling from OCT Lows, Are We Sleepn or?

Dutch Authorities Isolate 61 Covid-19 Cases Among Travelers From South AfricaOne in 10 passengers aboard two flights that landed in the Netherlands from South Africa on Friday tested positive for Covid-19. Health authorities said they would research whether the results showed the Omicron variant. So 600 people show 600 negative PCR tests in South Africa before boarding their flights to Amsterdam on Friday. When they land, all 600 are tested. 60 come up Covid positive. How does that happen? My bet is that there were fraudulent results given. A lot! All countries must stop travellers from SouthAfrica region directly or through other airports to enter their country till impact/solution for this Omicron variant known. If not each day spread will add up to repeat the first Italian shock from China. Commercial flights must be the worst.

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