A ‘number’ of people on SA flights probably had Omicron variant: RIVM

Photo: DutchNews.nl
Photo: DutchNews.nl

The Dutch public heath institute RIVM said on Saturday evening that early analysis indicates ‘a number’ of people on Friday’s flights from South Africa were infected with the new Omicron variant of Coronavirus.

In total, 61 out of 624 people on two flights on Friday tested positive for the virus. Most of them are now in a hotel for the duration of the infection, but people who live alone in the Netherlands have been allowed to go home.

The RIVM said that further analyses will now be carried out to determine if the Omicron variant or not is involved. The results are expected on Sunday.

The variant was first identified by scientists in South Africa and has since been reported in Germany, Belgium and Britain.

The RIVM said everyone who has arrived in the Netherlands from southern Africa since Monday, November 22 should have a test.

The Netherlands brought in new restrictions for people flying from southern Africa on Friday. Only people from the EU or with an urgent reason to travel are being allowed to fly.

People arriving in the Netherlands from South Africa, Botswana, Malawi, Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe must also go into quarantine on arrival.

New flights

People arriving on KLM flights from South Africa on Saturday were not all tested for coronavirus, the Telegraaf reported earlier.

The paper spoke to several passengers who told of the chaos before boarding, with dozens of people refused permission to fly.

KLM has two scheduled services from South Africa a day. On Saturday afternoon, Air France ZA said on Twitter that everyone with permission to board the flights would have to have a negative PCR test to travel.

Since last Monday, some 5,000 people have flown to the Netherlands from southern Africa. All are now being urged to come forward for a coronavirus test.

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