Netherlands analyzes 61 suspected cases of new variant

Travelers were diagnosed on a flight from South Africa

Published in 27/11/2021 - 11:48 By RTP - Portugal

The Czech Republic and Germany announced this Saturday (27) that they are investigating suspected cases of the new variant of SARS-CoV-2, Ômicron. In the Netherlands, this morning, 61 people arrived by air with covid-19 from South Africa - the country where the strain was initially detected. Dutch authorities will analyze whether these passengers are infected with Ômicron.

On Friday (26) the first case of the new variant on European soil was detected in Belgium - a young adult with no connection to South Africa or southern African countries, but who manifested symptoms 11 days after traveling between Turkey and Egypt.

A day later, the Czech Republic and Germany registered the first suspected cases of this variant, also known as B.1.1.529.

“A laboratory is evaluating the possible discovery of a specimen of the Ômicron variant. We are awaiting confirmation or refutation of the case”, said this Saturday the spokesperson for the Czech Government, Stepanka Cechova.

According to the National Institute of Public Health of the Czech Republic, the suspected passenger visited Namibia.

Germany is also evaluating the case of a traveler coming from South Africa. Despite not having been confirmed, the case generated a stir in the German government.

“The Ômicron variant is probably already present in Germany,” announced this morning on Twitter Kai Klose. "Because of this strong suspicion, this person is isolated at home. The complete analysis of the results is still in progress," said the minister.

Tests carried out on Friday night on a passenger arriving at Frankfurt airport from South Africa revealed "several mutations typical of Omicron", he added.

In the Netherlands, at least 61 passengers on two flights from South Africa tested positive for covid-19 upon arrival in Amsterdam. Health authorities are analyzing whether there are any cases of the new Ômicron variant among the cases.

"We now know that 61 of the [tests for the new coronavirus] results were positive and 531 were negative," indicated the Dutch health authority (GGD), adding that test-positive passengers, who all arrived on Friday, were placed in quarantine at a hotel near Schiphol airport in Amsterdam.

Those with a negative result can continue their journey if they do not reside in the Netherlands. Otherwise, they will have to stay in prophylactic isolation in their homes.

"The positive tests will now be analyzed to determine as soon as possible whether it is the new variant," added the Dutch health authorities.

The new variant of the coronavirus, first detected in South Africa, is considered "worrying" by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Text translated using artificial intelligence.

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