Further analysis showed that people who have tested positive for the omicron variant so far may have contracted the virus in several places. “At least not during the flight,” De Jong wrote to the House of Representatives.
De Jonge continues that as more attention is paid to mutations around the world, the new variant has also appeared in other countries. “Also in people who have not visited South Africa recently. This indicates a wider circulation potential for this species.”
The minister stresses again that “there is still a lot of uncertainty” about how contagious the new variant is, how sick people will become and the consequences for the efficacy of vaccines. However, there are genetic features that may indicate that the virus spreads more easily.
Of the more than 600 passengers who arrived on two planes from Cape Town and Johannesburg in Schiphol, 61 were previously found to have tested positive for coronavirus. The infected passengers are currently staying at the Corona Hotel, near Schiphol Airport. People with complaints should stay there for seven days. Security is available. On Sunday evening, a married couple left the hotel and were later detained by military police on a plane that was about to take off.
In the European Union, 33 people have so far tested positive for the Omikron variant of the coronavirus. They have all been to Africa recently. According to the European Health Service ECDC, some suspicious cases have been found in other countries, but it has not been determined whether the Omikron variant is involved.
All people who have tested positive to date have had at most some mild complaints. No one has yet become seriously ill from it and as far as is known, no one has died from this variant in Europe.
De Jonge urged travelers who have returned from South Africa since last Monday to undergo screening and go into quarantine. From Sunday they can make an appointment via the special number 0800-5005.
People returning from South Africa via Schiphol can also test themselves for coronavirus at the airport from Sunday upon arrival. GGD Kennemerland created a special experimental street at the airport for this purpose.
Red Cross staff transported coronavirus patients from Schiphol to the hotel, where they had to be quarantined.
Ⓒ ANP / ANP
These are travelers from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Lesotho, and Eswatini (Swaziland). These countries now have entry bans for non-EU citizens. The Dutch can still travel back and forth to South Africa. When returning to the Netherlands, they must have a double negative test result and must be in home isolation for at least five days upon arrival. According to De Jonge, the municipality is coming to check if they are actually staying at the house.
Omicron variant in many European countries
Belgium was the first European country in which the variant was created, followed by England and Germany on Saturday. The World Health Organization (WHO) has given the variable the character of concern, but it remains unclear what the consequences will be for disease severity and the efficacy of vaccines.
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