Multiple planes outside of an airport and a woman in a mask

Wikimedia Commons/Ymblanter Paula Zimmerman/Twitter Mikael Thalen

Video: Passengers on flight from South Africa to Denmark told to stay on plane due to COVID-19 variant fears

Passengers were stuck at the Schipol airport for hours while waiting on COVID test results.


Brooke Sjoberg


Posted on Nov 27, 2021   Updated on Nov 29, 2021, 10:21 am CST

A viral video of passengers being told to stay on a plane after arriving in Denmark from South Africa has garnered 735.4K views on Twitter.

The footage comes after a new strain of the coronavirus called Omicron was identified in South Africa by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Later videos posted by freelance journalist Paula Zimmerman, @paula63 on Twitter, show that passengers were eventually allowed to leave the plane, but were required to remain in the airport until they were shown to not be carrying the virus.

In the first video, a pilot from an unknown airline informs passengers that they will need to stay on the flight while the airline determines when they will be able to disembark.

“I imagine you have several questions, as I have as well, but that is the situation we are facing,” the pilot says from the cockpit.

According to timestamps on videos shared by Zimmerman, passengers remained on the plane for at least three hours after landing.

Although The Daily Dot has not confirmed the airline involved, the Dutch Health Ministry reported that 61 travelers from South Africa on a KLM flight tested positive for COVID-19 upon reentry, according to Reuters. They are now working to determine whether any of the cases are in fact the Omicron variant.

After exiting the plane, Zimmerman and other passengers were tested for COVID-19 before being able to leave. In a video taken at the G-1 terminal of the Schipol Airport in Amsterdam, Zimmerman said that people weren’t really social distancing and were growing more anxious as they waited to be tested.

“The testing should have been done by now for everybody, but that is definitely not the case,” she said hours later. “There is still quite a long queue. People who have been tested get their results by phone, and they don’t know what’s going to happen afterwards. The people are more and more upset, and they want food and they’re yelling a little bit. Apart from that, everything is fine.”

Ten hours later, Zimmerman shared an update that she was able to leave the terminal to quarantine at home. Although she tested negative, Zimmerman said she would continue looking for any symptoms after 30 people on her flight reportedly tested positive.

The Daily Dot has reached out to Zimmerman and KLM Royal Airlines via email regarding the situation.

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*First Published: Nov 27, 2021, 1:38 pm CST