Netherlands Reports 18 Omicron Cases from 2 Passenger Flights

The Netherlands’ Institute for Health (RIVM) reported on Saturday that 18 passengers on two flights from Southern Africa last week tested positive for the Omicron coronavirus variant.

In a statement, RIVM stated that its investigation into passengers on the two flights is now complete.

The Dutch government announced new travel restrictions on November 26 after the flights had already taken off due to concerns about the newly detected Omicron variant.

Over 600 passengers travelling on the flights were isolated and tested for COVID-19. Sixty-one of them tested positive, including the 18 who had the Omicron variant.

Those who tested positive but have no symptoms will be allowed out of isolation on Saturday, while those with symptoms will have to stay longer, the institute said.

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It did not state how many passengers would be released from isolation.

Health officials say the new coronavirus variant Omicron is driving an increase in new infections in South Africa.

A total of 11,500 new Covid infections were reported in the latest daily figures, indicating a sharp increase from the 8,500 cases confirmed the previous day.

Globally, at least 24 countries have been detected with Omicron, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Those who have already had other coronavirus variants are not likely to be protected against Omicron, but vaccines remain a promising means of protecting against severe disease, according to scientists at the world health organization and South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD).

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