Netherlands authorities have detained a couple for attempting to skip hospital quarantine despite coming back from a South African city.

According to the Washington Examiner, the two individuals, including a Spanish man and Portuguese woman, were among the passengers that left Johannesburg, a South African city. Thirteen of them caught the Omicron variant.

One of them tested positive for the novel virus, CNBC reported. But it had not been clear whether the person also contracted Omicron, the new variant of concern that sends the world racing to reinstate travel bans.

Fleeing quarantine in a hospital, the pair attempted to leave the country to Spain. The Dutch police apprehended them “in a plane that was about to take off.”

According to a spokesman for the police, they were busted on the plane “almost silently and without violence.”

Amsterdam newspaper Het Parool reported that the Public Prosecution Service would decide whether or not the pair would face charges for the breach later.

The Netherlands has been grappling with a record-breaking increase in coronavirus cases. It was further hit by the abrupt arrival of the Omicron variant, which found its way there through travelers from South Africa. 

First alerted by the South African authorities to the World Health Organization (WHO) on Nov. 24, Omicron has been detected in more than ten other nations, including the U.K., France, Israel, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Australia, Canada, and Hong Kong. 

There has been no report of Omicron cases in the U.S. yet.

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