A couple who were confined at a quarantine hotel near Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport in the Netherlands are suing the regional authorities for 50,000 euros in compensation for alleged mistreatment.
Carolina Pimenta, 28, and her boyfriend Andrés Sanz, 30, are suspected of departing the quarantine facility unlawfully in November 2021 and attempting to catch a flight to Barcelona, where they live.
Following a 14-hour journey from Cape Town, Pimenta tested positive for COVID-19 and was placed under strict quarantine.
She was one of hundreds of passengers stranded for hours on a KLM flight when European governments reacted quickly to the threat of importing the Omicron version from South Africa.
Because to COVID-19 worries, local officials initially refused to allow passengers or crew leave when the flight from Cape Town arrived in Amsterdam in the early hours of November 26, 2021.
Those onboard were ultimately allowed to leave, but they were swabbed and kept while their tests were completed.
Those who tested positive were placed under a strict quarantine because they posed a “severe threat to public health.”
Pimenta maintains that her test result was a mistake. She and Sanz both used quick tests on themselves and got negative findings.
Sanz never tested positive for COVID-19, whereas Pimenta tested negative three days after her initial positive result in a follow-up PCR test.
“Carolina and Andrés were illegally deprived of their freedom and detained for days in an isolation room at the UMC Groningen in Haren, in squalid conditions,” the lawyer’s couple, Bart Mes told Dutch newspaper the Volkskrant.
“Among other things we are contesting the claim that there was a serious danger to public health, which has never been substantiated.”
The couple was going back to their home in Spain after a vacation in South Africa, with a stopover in Amsterdam.
Around 44 of the 624 travelers detained first tested positive for COVID-19 and were ordered to quarantine in a hotel.
They were “treated like dogs,” according to Carolina. She wants officials to apologize for the way they were handled.
Despite public health officials’ initial reaction, the precautions were ineffective in preventing the spread of the Omicron strain, which swiftly spread throughout the Netherlands and Europe.