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Couple arrested after fleeing quarantine denounce authorities

“Nobody told us what the rules are, we were treated like dogs,” said Carolina Pimenta, arrested Sunday with her partner at Amsterdam-Schiphol airport on board a plane leaving for Spain.

To say that they were trying to escape is “ridiculous”, Ms. Pimenta told Dutch television station RTL nieuws. “It would not occur to me to do something that would endanger the health of others”, again defended this Spaniard, who presents herself as a biomedical researcher.

Tested positive during her stopover

She and her 28-year-old companion both tested negative for coronavirus before leaving South Africa and stopping over in the Netherlands on the way back to Spain, according to her account. When she arrived in Amsterdam on Friday, Carolina Pimenta tested positive. She explained that she had demanded for several days to undergo a new PCR test and did two self-tests which turned out to be negative.

The couple were arrested by Dutch border police on Sunday after leaving a hotel near the airport where most of the 61 people who tested positive for coronavirus after arriving on two planes from South Africa were placed in quarantine. Fourteen of them were contaminated with the new Omicron variant, according to the latest information from health authorities.

“Like a criminal”

Carolina Pimenta deplored having been taken away “with much agitation and cries”, “like a criminal”. “We had to take action and arrest them,” said Robert van Kapel, the border police spokesman at Schiphol airport. “Now they are in a place where they are in isolation, in a hospital,” he added.

Authorities did not know if Carolina Pimenta was a carrier of the Omicron. Her partner had tested negative, but chose to stay with her.

“It’s really not smart”

“These people were invited the first time to stay at the hotel, then they were called upon a second time, urgently; now they are in isolation. What they did was not really smart, ”said Petra Faber, a spokesperson for the Municipality of Haarlemmermeer.

“It is not illegal to leave your home when you have tested positive for Covid, but getting on a plane when you know you are is another question.” Justice is currently determining whether legal action can be taken against the couple, she added.

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