As reported by the Dutch health authorities, the omicron variant of the coronavirus was already present in Europe on November 19, that is, a week earlier than previously believed and they are conducting tests to see if it has spread rapidly.
The Dutch Institute for Health and the Environment (RIVM) “detected the omicron variant in two test carried out in the country on November 19 and 23 ”, declared the health authority in a statement.
Until now it was thought that the first omicron cases in the Netherlands were the 14 positives that arrived in Amsterdam on two flights from South Africa on Friday, November 26.
The two known infections on Tuesday, November 30, therefore occurred before South Africa informed the World Health Organization (WHO), on November 24, of the discovery of the new strain, called omicron and considered “worrying”.
“It is not yet clear that the infected have been in southern Africa,” said the RIVM, which informed those involved and added that municipal services are looking for possible contacts.
“Studies are going to be carried out to find out the distribution of the omicron variant in the Netherlands,” explained this institute, which will re-examine samples prior to the search for the strain.
With 16 confirmed cases, the country is one of the ones with the highest number of people infected by omicron in Europe.
The 14 cases that arrived in Amsterdam on Tuesday are currently under quarantine.