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Most South Africa passengers in quarantine hotel cleared to leave

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Most of the passengers who tested positive for coronavirus after flying in to the Netherlands from South Africa last week have been allowed to leave their quarantine hotel.

A spokesman for the local health service in Kennemerland said 44 people were tested on Wednesday, but did not specify how many were still positive. Those whose tests came back negative have been released.

A total of 61 people tested positive for coronavirus after arriving from Cape Town and Johannesburg last Friday afternoon, hours after the Dutch government tightened travel restrictions in response to the emergence of the Omicron variant. PCR tests showed 14 of those infected had the new variant.

They included Carolina Pimenta, from Portugal who was arrested with her partner, Andres Sanz, on Sunday after they left the hotel and tried to board a flight to Madrid. They were forced to quarantine in an isolation unit overnight even though Pimenta had returned negative antigen and PCR test results over the weekend.

Schiphol airport, airline KLM and Kennemerland health authorities all subsequently apologised for the way the passengers travelling from South Africa were treated on Friday. They were detained in the aircraft for several hours after landing, not offered food or water initially and had to wait in an unventilated room for their test results.

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