Following the emergence of the Omicron variant in Africa last week, the United States, the European Union and other countries have banned flights from southern Africa. Israel and Morocco slammed their doors to the world. Australia, Japan and other countries have postponed the opening and joined China in adopting a fortress mentality as it seeks to completely defeat the virus at home.
Despite all the attention to flights to the Netherlands, positive cases of Omicron have already been reported in several countries, and public health experts consider it to be imminent everywhere.
The vaccinated Italian, whose identity has not been disclosed, returned from Mozambique in early November to the southern city of Caserta. He said on Italian radio that he had tested negative before boarding a flight on November 11, as requested by Italy. Since he was traveling for work, according to Italian rules, he did not have to isolate himself upon his return.
It was only during a medical examination in Milan, where he also tested for Covid so that he could return to Mozambique, that he tested positive for the coronavirus, and then, amid increased attention for a new variant, on Omicron. Now he, his wife and children, who are also infected with the virus, are in isolation, all with mild symptoms so far.
On Tuesday, KLM, which operated two flights from South Africa on Friday, apologized to passengers. But Marjan Rosemeyer, a spokesman for the company, suggested that the option was just as caught off guard.
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After the flights landed at Schiphol Airport, she said, “the Dutch government asked the company to park our aircraft at a designated location so that all passengers could be tested,” and added that the airport and the Dutch health authorities had organized and conducted the tests.
In contrast, a spokesman for the Dutch public health service said that she did her best in her efforts and saw nothing wrong with allow passengers who test negative for the virus to continue their journey.