COVID-19: Dutch authorities discover 13 cases of Omicron variants among passengers from South Africa

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COVID-19: Dutch authorities discover 13 cases of Omicron variants among passengers from South Africa


Dutch authorities have detected 13 cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant among passengers arriving from South Africa.

Health officials said those infected were on flights from the southern African nation earlier this week.

A total of 61 people on planes tested positive for the virus – and 21% of them had Omicron.

Image:
KLM planes are seen on the tarmac at Schipol Airport near Amsterdam on April 15, 2015. REUTERS / Yves Herman

The two flights in question landed on Friday from South Africa at Amsterdam Schipol Airport, one of the busiest in Europe.

The Dutch Minister of Health said it was possible that there were more cases of the new COVID variant in the country.

Travel advice for those arriving from southern Africa has now changed, but cases are already emerging around the world.

The Dutch authorities are trying to get in touch with 5,000 other passengers who arrived since Monday from South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

So far, the Omicron variant has been identified in the UK, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Botswana, Israel, Hong Kong, Denmark and Australia.

Many countries are introducing restrictions on people who have arrived or recently arrived in southern Africa.

Travel is also slowing to other destinations – with Dubai Airlines’ first flight to Tel Aviv, Israel being delayed until further notice, scheduled to start on December 6.

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A new lockdown is due to start in the Netherlands this afternoon – a plan already in place due to a recent increase in cases there.

Bars, restaurants and most shops will close at 5 p.m.

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