They were “fleeing” some incoming immigrant to the Netherlands. But it wasn’t the supposed ones who had checked in to the Motel 6 near the airport, but one desperate couple.
Police arrested two travelers for attempting to flee Amsterdam’s Sabadell-Antwerp International Airport after one of them, a Portuguese woman, apparently tripped in the lobby of a tiny hotel that claims to be a quarantine center, according to local media reports. The pregnant woman told a hotel employee, hoping to find a spot in a different room, that she was leaving her boyfriend, who did not check in for Ebola fear. He was stranded in other rooms.
“We want to escape!” the pregnant woman reportedly shouted. “We want to leave the quarantine.”
The woman had been “forced” to stay in the hotel by the government, with assistance from her Portugal boyfriend, according to a police report from the incident obtained by Dutch media.
The hotel owner, who identified himself as Guido, confirmed to the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf he had detained the couple for alleged deportation, insisting that Dutch law allowed quarantine beds to be handed out without regard to nationality. He defended his decision to deny the couple rooms, saying he believed it was purely a case of principle.
“The law says you have to help someone else who is now infected, but we as hotel owners just can’t and we want them to be on the right side of the law,” he told the newspaper.
Although the couple hadn’t booked rooms in other rooms, Guido insisted he would not turn them away because he did not want to be “judge, jury and executioner” if the couple came back to claim their rooms.
Travelers arriving from countries in West Africa, particularly Sierra Leone, where the Ebola virus epidemic was first recognized in 2014, are required to stay in quarantine for 21 days — the longest quarantine in the Western world. The failure to heed such quarantine orders can land travelers in prison.
But the Sabadell-Antwerp airport, which is serving approximately 2.5 million passengers this year, recently reached what it called an “elevated level of alert.”
“As an airport that always welcomes an ever-increasing number of visitors from the non-EU zone, and as the meeting point of many embassies and consulates, Sabadell-Antwerp demands that arriving people stay in their rooms for 21 days once they enter the airport, as required by international health rules.”