Covid testing success story from Holland (the South African 61)

“The Netherlands finds 61 Covid cases in air arrivals from South Africa, and is checking for the variant.” (NYT):

Sixty-one people from two flights from South Africa to the Netherlands have tested positive for the coronavirus, Dutch health officials said early Saturday. It was unclear as of late morning local time if the cases were linked to the newly discovered Omicron variant.

The health officials tested 600 passengers who arrived on Friday morning at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. Those who tested negative were allowed to leave the airport and quarantine at home, or to continue their journeys.

In other words, 10 percent of the folks who arrived in Holland tested positive for plague. Why should that be surprising in a world crammed with 8 billion tempting human hosts for a virus? 100 percent of these people would have tested negative for plague shortly before getting on the two planes. The Dutch require a negative COVID-19 test result for anyone coming in from outside the EU (and also for many of those arriving from within the EU):

You must show a negative COVID-19 test result if you are travelling to or returning to the Netherlands from outside the EU/Schengen or a COVID-19 risk area within the EU/Schengen. This requirement applies to everyone aged 12 or over. There are some exceptions. For example: people travelling within the EU who can show proof of vaccination or proof of recovery (a Digital COVID Certificate) do not have to show a negative COVID-19 test result.

The requirements are detailed on a separate web page:

(Maybe some virtuously vaccinated folks could have skipped the pre-flight test if they were simply changing planes in Amsterdam, but most countries now seem to require a negative test and therefore the number who were pre-tested would be close to 100 percent.)

Does the news from Amsterdam give us any reason to question our faith in testing?

Didn’t our heroine Elizabeth Holmes actually do better than this at Theranos? And yet she, despite being a victim of rape, is being prosecuted for the low quality of the Theranos tests.

6 thoughts on “Covid testing success story from Holland (the South African 61)

  1. The story has a neat development – out of 61 who tested positive, 14 were infected with Omicron, then at least 2 who were send to the Corona Hotel left it the next day and went to Madrid but were caught as their plane was about to take off, turns out imprisonment in the Corona Hotel is voluntary.

  2. This demonstrates nicely that there is no such thing as a European country any more. Consider Germany: More than 50% of construction workers are from Romania and have been traveling freely and working during all lockdowns (construction work is “essential”, especially if your dentist needs a new sauna or a bike shed).

    It is interesting to note that the Romanian cases nicely precede the German ones by a couple of weeks.

  3. There is a large incentive countries dependent on tourism to give their visitors a negative test result. Having been outside the US recently, it seemed pretty clear that the testing process – administered by the hotel/resort – was more likely designed to make return travel easy than to catch and quarantine positive cases. We heard of no-one who tested positive. Of course, testing positive causes a nightmare scenario – delayed return trip, juggling airline reservations, more fees, quarantining in your hotel or other location, family unit dislocation, other anxiety causing uncertainties, i.e., lots of reasons the travel industry would not want to see positive tests that would give everyone second thoughts about planning a trip. And, there is nice fee charged which begs the question of who might be profiting from the testing. I’m not surprised at the Dutch data.

  4. Tonight two women were talking about the now Officially Endemic SARS-CoV-2 virus and what it means for our collective futures, and what we must do, collectively:

    1) Stamp out unvaccinated people from being unvaccinated and if not, we must restrict their lives. (We need the RFID in the neck chips.)
    2) Travel bans need to be much faster and much more flexible, along with forced quarantining and contact tracing.
    3) Testing needs to continue to ramp up so that the inevitable variants through the rest of the Greek alphabet and into every other alphabet in the future are detected much more quickly fast so that:
    a) New vaccines can be developed as quickly as possible and
    b) RFID chips can be updated accordingly (this was not actually said, but since we are going to have to have much better and complete vaccination of everyone, I think it’s the only way forward.)
    c) Travel bans, masking orders and lockdowns can be coordinated and implemented much more quickly and effectively whenever there is a surge or a new variant detected.

    They are surprised the new Omicron variant was apparently circulating in the Netherlands for weeks prior to its discovery in South Africa. Obviously this points to a much greater need for testing. The good news is that the United States is finally getting with the program when it comes to sequencing! Now we just have to make sure everyone gets as many shots as the #Scientists say they need.

    The word “Endemic” was used prominently for the first time, and so the recipe is starting to gel. We’re going to live in a permanent state of Coronapanic. The good news is that in just two to three weeks, the #Scientists will know how much more we need to lock everything down to combat Omicron while we wait to fight Pi, and so forth.

    The past was alterable. The past never had been altered. Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia.

    This is an accurate recapitulation of what I just heard on Sirius Satellite Radio “NPR Now” channel 122. The world has “long COVID” and it is going to last forever, all power to the Technocracy and the Women of STEM!

    • @Philg: The short answer to your question about “questioning our faith in testing” has been answered in the negative by National Public Radio because the news as of 8:20 PM is that Omicron had been circulating in the Netherlands *weeks* ago – completely separately from its arrival on a flight from South Africa, and this points out how much more testing needs to be done! It will also – according to these folks – take at least two to three more weeks for #Scientists to learn how transmissible it is, how vaccine resistant it is, and so forth. All of that combined points up the need for more testing, more vaccination and more assertive and flexible travel bans, quarantines and so forth.

      This can go on indefinitely, and of course it will.

      RFID chips. My neck is ready.

    • Finally, the NPR dogma as of tonight is that the vaccines are not causing the virus to mutate into more virulent forms. It is unvaccinated people spreading the virus who are causing the new variants to emerge. That’s the #Science according to NPR as of right now.

      Of course, we know that when it comes to SARS-CoV-2, the #Science can and does change on an aperiodic and unpredictable basis, because that’s what #Science is: a game of “catch-up” to explain the facts that cannot be controlled but is extremely important for political reasons nevertheless.

      Nobody on NPR was there to ask the question: “So what you are saying is: if everyone was vaccinated, no new variants would emerge and we could defeat the virus as we were originally promised?”

      There were no people in the studio who thought to ask that question, but even I know the answer.

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