Dutch discover 13 instances of Omicron variant in flights from South Africa – Nationwide | Globalnews.ca

Dutch find 13 cases of Omicron variant in flights from South Africa - National | Globalnews.ca

2021-11-28 19:08:06

The brand new Omicron coronavirus variant stored spreading all over the world on Sunday, with 13 instances discovered within the Netherlands and two every in Denmark and Australia, at the same time as extra international locations tried to seal themselves off by imposing journey restrictions.

Dutch well being authorities introduced that the 13 instances of the variant have been discovered amongst passengers who have been on flights from South Africa that arrived in Amsterdam on Friday.

Learn extra:
Right here’s why WHO skipped 2 Greek letters to call new variant ‘Omicron’

Authorities had examined all the greater than 600 passengers on these two flights and had discovered 61 coronavirus instances, happening to check these for the brand new variant.

“It isn’t unlikely extra instances will seem within the Netherlands,” Well being Minister Hugo de Jonge advised a information convention in Rotterdam. “This might presumably be the tip of the iceberg.”

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First found in South Africa, the variant has now been detected in Britain, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, Botswana, Israel, Australia and Hong Kong.

The invention of Omicron, dubbed a “variant of concern” final week by the World Well being Group, has sparked worries all over the world that it may resist vaccinations and lengthen the practically two-year COVID-19 pandemic.

Omicron is probably extra contagious than earlier variants, though specialists have no idea but if it’ll trigger kind of extreme COVID-19 in comparison with different strains.

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: U.S. imposes travel ban from 8 African countries over Omicron variant'

COVID-19: U.S. imposes journey ban from 8 African international locations over Omicron variant

COVID-19: U.S. imposes journey ban from 8 African international locations over Omicron variant

Denmark’s infectious illness authority stated on Sunday it has registered two instances of the variant in vacationers from South Africa.

Well being officers in Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales, stated two passengers who arrived in Sydney from southern Africa on Saturday night had examined constructive for the variant.

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Austria was investigating a suspected case on Sunday and in France Well being Minister Olivier Veran stated the variant was in all probability already circulating there.

Nations have imposed a wave of journey bans or curbs on southern Africa to attempt to stem the unfold. Monetary markets dived on Friday as traders frightened that the variant may stall a worldwide restoration. Oil costs tumbled by about $10 a barrel.

On Sunday, most Gulf inventory markets fell sharply in early commerce, with the Saudi index struggling its greatest single-day fall in practically two years.

Learn extra:
Will COVID-19 booster pictures shield towards the Omicron variant? Specialists undecided


In probably the most far-reaching effort to maintain the variant at bay, Israel introduced late on Saturday it will ban the entry of all foreigners and reintroduce counter-terrorism phone-tracking know-how to include the unfold of the variant.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett stated the ban, pending authorities approval, would final 14 days. Officers hope that inside that interval there can be extra data on how efficient vaccines are towards Omicron.

Many international locations have imposed or are planning restrictions on journey from southern Africa. The South African authorities denounced this on Saturday as unfair and probably dangerous to its economic system — saying it’s being punished for its scientific means to establish coronavirus variants early.

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In Britain, the place two linked instances of Omicron recognized on Saturday have been linked to journey to southern Africa, the federal government introduced measures to attempt to include the unfold, together with stricter testing guidelines for individuals arriving within the nation and requiring mask-wearing in some settings.

Learn extra:
Canada clamps down on Omicron COVID-19 variant. Specialists say it’s seemingly ‘already right here’

British well being minister Sajid Javid stated on Sunday he anticipated to obtain recommendation imminently on whether or not the federal government can broaden a program of offering booster pictures to completely vaccinated individuals, to attempt to weaken the influence of the variant.

The German state of Bavaria additionally introduced two confirmed instances of the variant on Saturday. In Italy, the Nationwide Well being Institute stated a case of the brand new variant had been detected in Milan in an individual coming from Mozambique.

Zhong Nanshan, a Chinese language respiratory illness skilled, stated it may take a while to achieve a conclusion on the harmfulness of the brand new variant, state tv reported on Sunday.


Though epidemiologists say journey curbs could also be too late to cease Omicron from circulating, many international locations — together with the US, Brazil, Canada, European Union nations, Australia, Japan, South Korea and Thailand — have introduced journey bans or restrictions on southern Africa.

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Extra international locations imposed such curbs on Sunday, together with Indonesia and Saudi Arabia.

Mexico’s deputy well being secretary, Hugo Lopez Gatell, stated journey restrictions are of little use in response to the brand new variant, calling measures taken by some international locations “disproportionate.”

“It has not been proven to be extra virulent or to evade the immune response induced by vaccines. They have an effect on the economic system and well-being of individuals,” he stated in a Twitter publish on Saturday.

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Doctors encourage vaccination as Omicron variant emerges'

COVID-19: Medical doctors encourage vaccination as Omicron variant emerges

COVID-19: Medical doctors encourage vaccination as Omicron variant emerges

Omicron has emerged as many international locations in Europe are already battling a surge in COVID-19 infections, with some reintroducing restrictions on social exercise to attempt to cease the unfold.

The brand new variant has additionally thrown a highlight on large disparities in vaccination charges across the globe. At the same time as many developed international locations are giving third-dose boosters, lower than seven per cent of individuals in low-income international locations have acquired their first COVID-19 shot, in accordance with medical and human rights teams.

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Seth Berkley, CEO of the GAVI Vaccine Alliance that with the WHO co-leads the COVAX initiative to push for equitable distribution of vaccines, stated this was important to push back the emergence of extra coronavirus variants.

“Whereas we nonetheless must know extra about Omicron, we do know that so long as giant parts of the world’s inhabitants are unvaccinated, variants will proceed to seem, and the pandemic will proceed to be extended,” he stated in an announcement to Reuters on Saturday.

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