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World

30 Nov 2021

Omicron Variant was First Detected in the Netherlands before S. Africa Flights

The Index Today

Dutch health officials said on Tuesday, that the COVID-19 Omicron variant was detected in the Netherlands before two flights arrived from South Africa last week carrying the virus.

The National Institute for Public Health (RIVM) said, that at least 14 people on flights from Johannesburg and Capetown arrived at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport on Nov. 26 carrying the new variant.

"We have found the Omicron coronavirus variant in two test samples that were taken on Nov. 19 and Nov. 23," the RIVM said. "It is not clear yet whether these people have visited Southern Africa."

Reuters mentioned in their reports that the discovery of Omicron has sparked worries around the world that it could resist vaccinations and prolong the nearly two-year-old COVID-19 pandemic. Some 61 out of the more than 600 passengers on the South Africa flights tested positive for COVID-19 and went into quarantine after arriving last Friday.

Dutch authorities are also seeking to contact and test some 5,000 other passengers who have travelled from South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia or Zimbabwe.

In the Netherlands, a more strict COVID-19 measures were implemented on Sunday to lessen the record daily infection rates of more than 20,000 and ease pressure on hospitals.

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