Passengers on two KLM flights from South Africa to Amsterdam were on board for at least four hours after landing in Europe in fear of a new COVID-19 variant.


KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.Nicholas Economou / NurPhoto / Getty

  • B.1.1.529 Two KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flights from South Africa have been held at Schiphol Airport due to a new travel ban associated with the COVID-19 variant.

  • Passenger and Twitter user Paula Zimmerman has posted a live experience of trying to enter the Netherlands.

  • One flight got off the plane and passengers were taken to the terminal by shuttle bus for testing.

European countries did not waste time blocking their borders in response to the threat of the new COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529, dubbed the “Omicron” variant.

Travel bans from countries in southern Africa where variants have been detected have been enforced in countries such as the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, and travelers are already in balance.

The airline confirmed to insiders that two KLM flights from South Africa to the Netherlands were temporarily banned from taking off after landing at Schiphol Airport.

The 11-hour flight from Cape Town and Johannesburg departed early Friday morning and arrived in Amsterdam later that morning. FlightAware show. According to KLM, the Dutch travel ban to South Africa came into effect at 12:00 pm Amsterdam time. WebsiteHowever, the flight was still affected.

“Passengers on two KL flights (KL592 and KL598) landed before 12:00 pm, but [were] By order of the Dutch government and health agencies, it is not allowed to leave the aircraft after landing. “

Travelers were finally allowed to enter the terminal, where they were allowed to leave after a compulsory COVID-19 test. NS New York Times A KLM flight reporter from Johannesburg said the aircraft had at least four hours of waiting time.

Twitter user Paula Zimmerman posted a video of a KLM flight from Cape Town, South Africa to Amsterdam that was blocked from taking off after landing at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.

“Johannesburg and Cape Town flights cannot enter the Netherlands without restrictions,” Zimmerman said. record The captain of her flight as saying. “As with me, I think I have some questions, but that’s the situation we’re facing.”

Video update from Zimmerman Indicates that the flight was assigned to a remote gate at Schiphol Airport and passengers were guided by the shuttle bus to arrive at the terminal.

“We’re in the terminal … at Schiphol Airport, waiting for everyone to take the test,” Zimmerman said after arriving at the airport stop. “As far as I can see, the social distance has hardly advanced.”

However, the airport environment provided little amnesty or clarity as to whether passengers were allowed to enter the Netherlands or continue their subsequent journeys.The spokesman at the airport NL Times Passengers are isolated from passengers at other Schiphol airports, and the public health organization GGD Kennemerland is tasked with testing passengers.

“People are getting more and more anxious, want to take a test, want to go home, and don’t know how long this will take,” Zimmerman said. video Taken at Schiphol Airport.

Zimmermans Latest updateAround 5 pm in Amsterdam, passengers said they were in the process of testing even after waiting for hours.

“Schiphol Airport is now at 5 o’clock and the test should have been done so far, but it’s not. There’s still a pretty long line left,” Zimmerman said, passengers don’t know what to do after receiving it. Said. Their result. “People are getting more and more upset, yelling, and wanting food. Other than that, everything is fine.”

NL Times The test was expected to be completed by 4:30 pm local time and the results were expected to be available by 8:30 pm local time. Schiphol Airport did not immediately respond to insider comment requests regarding the situation inside the terminal.

The Netherlands has a history Imposing a strict travel ban to prevent the occurrence of additional COVID-19.. Restrictions requiring travelers to obtain negative results from PCR tests performed within 72 hours of flight departure and prompt test results up to 4 hours before departure to the Netherlands in January. Was announced.

And the European Union is already Stop flights from southern African countries affected by the new variant..

“All air travel to these countries should be interrupted,” said Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission. Said.. “Until they have a clear understanding of the dangers posed by this new variant, they should be suspended and travelers returning from this area should respect strict quarantine rules.”

According to Cirium data, a total of 12 direct flights from southern Africa to Europe, including South Africa and Namibia, were scheduled for November 26. There are no direct flights to Europe in Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Swaziland and Botswana.

Other carriers also offer connections between countries in southern Africa and Europe.

Read the original article Business Insider