Dutch say 14 Omicron passengers from South Africa have been vaccinated

Amsterdam — Thursday’s Dutch health officials said that most of the 62 people who tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving from South Africa on two flights last week were vaccinated, regardless of vaccination status. He said he emphasized the request for pre-flight inspection.

In addition, all 14 passengers who were later found to be infected with the Omicron variant were vaccinated, health officials said Thursday.

Under the rules of the time, more than 600 passengers could board KLM flights from Johannesburg and Cape Town on November 26, with negative evidence of vaccination or recent COVID-19 test results.

A spokesman for the Kennemerland health authorities, where Schiphol Airport is located, said “about 90 percent” of those who tested positive were vaccinated.

A spokesman for the National Institute for Public Health and Health (RIVM) confirmed on Thursday that this would include all Omicron passengers.

KLM did not track how individual passengers met their pre-flight health requirements.

Passenger infection rates from South Africa have triggered calls from Dutch health authorities for tests to replace flight vaccination status.

“By requesting a test before departure and retesting five days after arrival to know what happened, we can make the flight safer,” said RIVM’s Infectious Diseases Officer. One Jaap van Dissel said in a parliamentary testimony on Wednesday.

He also recommended quarantine to travelers from high-risk areas.

RIVM’s advice, not yet adopted by the Dutch government, is that only PCR tests performed 48 hours before arrival in the Netherlands are accepted and are required regardless of vaccination status.

Countries around the world are tightening their flight rules due to concerns that they may resist vaccination after the discovery of Omicron, called a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization.

The Dutch government has stated that it is considering RIVM’s recommendations, but hopes to make a decision at the EU level. France, Portugal and Ireland have already adopted similar policies.

Health officials in Kenemerland also said Thursday that they had released more than half of the infected passengers who had been quarantined at hotels near the airport.

Authorities have not stated whether any of the 14 passengers infected with the Omicron variant have been released for privacy reasons.

Toby Sterling