“Please help us out!” Said a German woman on a video broadcast on the internet. Like her, dozens of passengers from Great Britain found themselves stranded at German airports overnight from Sunday to Monday.
• Read also: All developments in the COVID-19 pandemic
At issue: the decision to suspend from Sunday midnight flights with this country because of the new strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, more contagious, discovered in particular in the United Kingdom.
At Hanover airport in the north of the country, the measure hit a group of 63 passengers returning from that country, who were not allowed to leave the airport site immediately, said the local police.
All must first pass a screening test for the new coronavirus, which was carried out on site by nursing staff in protective clothing with coveralls, charlotte and plastic visor, and wait for the results, probably known on Monday.
In the meantime, the airport has set up camp beds in one of the terminals where passengers spend the night.
“Our aim is to prevent the new variant of the virus from entering the region,” local health authority official Andreas Kranz told the dpa news agency.
Among the stranded passengers, the atmosphere was tense. “We are at Hanover airport and we were held against our will, we were tested and were prohibited from leaving the premises while awaiting the results”, complains the young German, Manuela Thomys, in the video broadcast by the German daily Bild.
She is seen there in the middle of a group of stranded people like her, including a 9 month old baby.
A similar scene took place at Stuttgart Airport, but with a smaller group of passengers arriving from the UK, who were taken to an on-site test center, according to an airport spokesperson. .
They will also have the authorization to leave the premises if the result is negative, but with then the obligation to quarantine themselves.
“We are aware of the inconvenience this causes, especially just before Christmas,” said the local police, “we are doing everything possible to ensure that the security conditions at the entrance to the territory are respected, while sparing the passengers, ”she said.
Germany, like many countries, suspended flights from the UK at midnight on Monday. And for those who arrived on Sunday evening, reinforced control measures were imposed on landing passengers, including the obligation to carry out a COVID test.
The emergence in the United Kingdom of a new strain of the coronavirus that is much more contagious than the others worries the authorities, because it could be up to 70% more contagious than the previous one.