Already there, before we even know it exists.
The Dutch Institute for Health and Environment (RIVM) announced on Tuesday that it had “detected the Omicron variant in two test samples which had already been taken in the Netherlands (…) on November 19 and 23, 2021 ".
This new date falls a week earlier than what was estimated so far, but also six days before South Africa reported to the World Health Organization that it had detected this new variant on November 24, sparking a wind panic and a ban on many territories for travelers from southern Africa.
The Netherlands announced on Monday that 14 people were carriers of the Omicron variant in the country, all of them among the passengers who left South Africa and diagnosed positive for Covid-19 last Friday when they arrived in Amsterdam.
16 confirmed cases in the Netherlands
It is not yet possible to know "if the people concerned (in the previous cases) also went to southern Africa", specified the RIVM, adding that the people tested had been informed and that the municipal health services had started investigating their contacts.
"In the coming period, various studies will be carried out on the dissemination of the Omicron variant in the Netherlands," the institute said, adding that it would review more samples from the previous tests.
With 16 cases now confirmed, the Netherlands has one of the highest contamination figures for the new variant in Europe at this stage.
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A fault ?