Omicron variant spread fears as 13 passengers from South Africa test positive in Amsterdam

Published on : Monday, November 29, 2021

New Omicron variant spread fears as 13 passengers on flight from South Africa test positive in Amsterdam. At least thirteen people have tested positive for the Omicron Covid variant after landing in Amsterdam on a flight from South Africa.

The Dutch health authorities have confirmed 61 passengers are quarantining as they are infected with the coronavirus with at least 13 cases of the new super strain – but officials fear it is just the “tip of the iceberg”.

The National Institute for Public Health (RIVM) said that the Omicron variant has so far been identified in 13 of the positive tests. The investigation has not yet been completed. The new variant may be found in more test samples.

The passengers were among 600 to arrive at Schiphol Airport on two KLM flights on Friday.

Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said at a press conference in Rotterdam said that it is not unlikely more cases will appear in the Netherlands.

The Dutch government banned all air travel from southern Africa early on Friday. However, Mr de Jonge said passengers already en route to the Netherlands would be allowed into the country after undergoing testing and quarantine.

Passengers on the two KLM flights, from Cape Town and Johannesburg, said they were kept waiting on the tarmac for hours.

Stephanie Nolen, a passenger on a flight from Johannesburg who later tested negative, reported a “huge queue” to see Covid testers.

The discovery of Omicron, dubbed a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization, has sparked worries around the world that it could resist vaccinations and prolong the nearly two-year Covid pandemic.

Dutch health 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 since Monda.

It comes after it was confirmed two cases of the Omicron variant have been detected in the UK.

The Health Secretary said the dreaded super-strain has been reported in Chelmsford and Nottingham as fears of a second Christmas lockdown grow. Mr Javid said the two individuals who have tested positive and all members of their households are now self-isolating.

They are being re-tested and have been told to self-isolate while further testing and contact tracing is underway.

Boris Johnson has added four more countries on the travel ban list in a desperate bid to avoid a fresh lockdown this Christmas amid Omicron variant chaos.

Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Angola were added to the travel red list at 4am today in addition to the six already on it – South Africa.

Meanwhile, health chiefs say it’s overwhelmingly likely that “very high risk” Omicron is in Germany already after a traveller tested positive for a mutated form of the deadly bug.

Fears are intensifying over the Omicron variant – believed by experts to be the “worst variant ever”.

In Germany – which looks set to head back into lockdown as Covid cases spiral – a minister in western state Hesse said Omicron has already arrived.

The state is home to busy Frankfurt Airport. EU health chiefs have warned the new mutation poses a “high to very high” risk to Europe.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control says there’s “considerable uncertainty related to the transmissibility, vaccine effectiveness, risk for reinfections and other properties of the Omicron variant.”

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