Omicron variant found in 13 passengers tested at Amsterdam airport on Friday, Dutch authorities say

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Red Cross workers transport passengers infected with the coronavirus returning from South Africa to be quarantined at a hotel in Schiphol, the Netherlands, on November 27. (Laurens Bosch / EPA-EFE / Shutterstock)

Dutch health authorities said the Omicron variant had been identified in at least 13 people who were tested at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport after landing from South Africa on Friday.

The Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) said in a declaration published on Sunday that the variant had been detected thanks to the sequencing of the 61 positive Covid-19 results obtained on Friday by local health authorities at the airport.

He added that the sequencing “had not been fully completed “and that it was” possible that the new variant could be found in more test samples “.

A declaration RIVM released on Saturday said Omicron was “presumably found” in a number of people tested at the airport on Friday morning.

A total of 624 passengers from two flights returning from South Africa were tested by GGD Kennemerland (the municipal health service responsible for Amsterdam Schiphol Airport) upon arrival, GGD said on Friday.

A little background: The Netherlands implemented a flight ban on several southern African countries on Friday. Flights can continue if they are carrying Dutch citizens and / or travelers with an EU or Schengen passport.

These citizens can enter the Netherlands with a negative PCR test result taken within the last 24 hours and must be quarantined for 10 days upon arrival, or for five days if they show a negative test result, for example. opinion from the website of the Dutch government.

The two flights that landed at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport on Friday morning had left South Africa before the flight ban went into effect at 12 p.m. Dutch time. Dutch authorities noted that “passengers on flights which were already en route to the Netherlands before the entry into force of the flight ban will do a PCR test after landing and go into quarantine”.

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