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Omicron variant found on 13 air passengers in the Netherlands

BRUSSELS, Nov 28 (KUNA) -- Up to 13 cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus has been detected among passengers who arrived at the Schipol airport in Amsterdam from South Africa on Friday, the Dutch National institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) reported Sunday.
In a press release, it noted that on 26 November, 624 passengers returning from South Africa were tested for the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 . The passengers were tested at Schiphol Airport and 61 of them tested positive for COVID-19.
" These test samples were sent to RIVM for further analysis to determine which variant of the coronavirus was involved. Initial results showed the omicron variant (B.1.1.529) in 13 of the samples from the positive tests. Sequencing has not been completed yet. It is possible that the new variant will be found in more test samples, it said.
According to Dutch media reports , most of the people who have the virus were taken to a hotel for quarantine, while five people who live alone, were allowed to stay at home.
The Omicron variant was first identified in South Africa but has already turned up in Belgium, Germany, Britain and several other countries.
The Netherlands is now urging some 5,000 people who have travelled to the Netherlands from southern Africa since November 22 to make an appointment for a test, even if they donآ’t have any symptoms of the virus.
On Sunday, Dutch Health minister Hugo de Jonge was reported saying that he did not rule out imposing extra measures to try to deal with the new variant, but much depends on how infectious and how serious it is.
Everyone flying in from southern Africa will have to go into quarantine at home for at least five days and checks will be carried out on everyone to make sure they do stay in, De Jonge said.(end) nk.nhq