The Dutch health authority said on Saturday that 61 passengers from two South African flights had tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in Amsterdam, which is analyzing the results of the new variant.
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“We now know that 61 of the results were positive and 531 negative,” the Dutch health authority (GGD) announced, adding that passengers who tested positive for the virus were quarantined at a hotel near Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.
The tested passengers arrived in Amsterdam on Friday. Those who have negative results will be able to continue their journey if they do not reside in the Netherlands. Otherwise, they will have to isolate themselves in their home.
They added that “positive tests will be analyzed to determine if this is a new alternative as soon as possible.”
A new variant of the coronavirus, omicron, which was first detected Thursday in South Africa, is considered “alarming” by the World Health Organization.
The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) warned Friday night that it poses “high to very high” risks to Europe.
It may represent an increased risk of infection compared to other variants, including delta, which are prevalent and already highly contagious.
Dutch company KLM said in a press release that it will continue to coordinate with Johannesburg and Cape Town “through the implementation of enhanced protocols”.
Entry into the Netherlands from South Africa is only allowed for Dutch nationals and residents of EU countries, who must show a negative COVID test and self-isolate upon arrival.
A KLM flight from Johannesburg was scheduled to land in Amsterdam-Schiphol at 11:00 GMT, according to the company’s website.
Apart from South Africa, Omicron was discovered in Malawi and Israel on people from Malawi, Botswana, Hong Kong and Belgium, which are members of the European Union.
More countries are suspending travel to and from South Africa to limit the use of Omicron. The anxiety it causes plunged global stock markets and oil prices, dealing another blow to the global economy in full recovery.
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