More than 60 tests positive after flying from South Africa to Amsterdam amid growing fear of Omicron variants

Passengers traveling from South Africa are lining up for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing after being detained at the airport apron at Schiphol Airport-Reuters

Passengers traveling from South Africa are lining up for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing after being detained at the airport apron at Schiphol Airport-Reuters

Dutch health officials said Saturday that 61 passengers on two flights from South Africa tested positive for Covid-19 and the results are being tested for new Omicron variants.

Those who test positive are currently quarantined at a hotel near Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. There, 600 people on two planes from Johannesburg waited for hours on Friday.

“We found that 61 of the results were positive and 531 were negative,” the Dutch Health Department (GGD) said in a statement.

“Positive test results are examined as soon as possible to determine if this is related to a new mutant of interest. Since then, it has been named the Omicron variant.”

As German local officials said Saturday, health officials identified the first suspicious case in a new subspecies country among those returning from South Africa.

Kai Klose, Minister of Social Affairs in Hessen, West Africa, tweeted about the first strain detected in southern Africa: “Omicron variants are likely to have already arrived in Germany.”

12:29 pm

Where has the number of Covid-19 deaths increased since the summer?

Deaths are increasing across Europe as the fourth wave takes hold. So far, the Czech Republic has seen the largest increase in deaths per million. Next is Austria, followed by Germany.

12:08 PM

Why is the latest Covid variant called omicron?

The World Health Organization (WHO) has named the new coronavirus variant Omicron, skipping the two Greek letters Nu and Xi. This is probably the most dangerous variant, but not to have the same name as President Xi Jinping. Chinese Communist Party.

In May 2021, the World Health Organization said that a new variant of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes a pandemic, would be named after the Greek script rather than the country or region originally identified. Announced.

Previously, only official labels were assigned by the scientific database and featured letters such as B.1.1.7, P.1, B.1.351 followed by a string of numbers.

As a result, these clunky names have been colloquially replaced with the names of the first places found, such as Kent, Brazil, and South Africa.

However, health officials were concerned about discrimination, prejudice and stigma of people from these locations and were looking for a naming system to avoid this.

Although the bird name was proposed, WHO decided on the Greek alphabet as a comfortable and easy-to-digest nomenclature.

All existing variants were named retroactively in order of appearance, but later variants picked up the next available letter in the alphabet.

Therefore, the Kent variant became known as Alpha, South Africa became Eta, Brazil became Gamma, and the Indian variant was re-badged as Delta.

However, in addition to these well-known formats, there are nine formats that extend to Mu.

However, on Friday, the World Health Organization broke out of this orderly system and called the 13th variant omicron, the 15th letter of the alphabet.

Nu, the thirteenth letter of the alphabet, may have been skipped to avoid confusion about the new Nu variant, but has not yet been explained by WHO.

It’s also unclear if Nu and Xi will be used as variant names in the future.

11:53 AM

Concerns cause more travel curbs in southern Africa

Epidemics say travel restrictions may be too late to stop Omicron from circulating globally, but many countries around the world, including the United States, Brazil, Canada and the European Union, will be on Friday. Announced travel bans or restrictions in South Africa.

On Saturday, Australia announced that it would ban non-citizens staying in nine countries in southern Africa and require a supervised 14-day quarantine for Australian citizens and their dependents to return from there.

Japan said it would extend strict border controls to three more African countries after imposing restrictions on travel from South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Lesotho on Friday.

Sri Lanka, Thailand and Oman have also announced travel restrictions in countries in southern Africa.

11:38 AM

South Africa was “punished” for detecting the Omicron variant

South Africa said Saturday that it was “punished” for detecting a new Covid-19 mutant, Omicron, which the World Health Organization calls a “mutant of concern” and is more infectious than the predominant Delta strain.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has decided that many countries around the world will ban flights from South Africa following the discovery of a variant, “punishing South Africa for advanced genomic sequencing and the ability to detect new variants more quickly. It’s similar to that. ” statement.

11:15 am

Czechs report suspected cases of Omicron variants of coronavirus

The Czech Republic is investigating suspected cases of an omicron variant of the coronavirus found in people spent in Namibia, the National Institute of Public Health said Saturday.

“The laboratory is checking for possible findings of positive specimens of the Omicron variant. We are waiting for confirmation or rebuttal of the case,” spokesman Stepanka Czechova said in an email statement. rice field.

11:02 AM

Stocks bring “high risk to very high risk” to Europe

EU health officials say the new strain will bring “high risk to very high risk” to the continent.

In the Netherlands, GGD states that all passengers who test positive should stay in the hotel quarantine for 7 days if they have symptoms and 5 days if they have no symptoms.

Passengers who failed the test but remain in the Netherlands are expected to be quarantined at home.

“I understand that people are dissatisfied with this,” the statement said. “People have just made a long journey with the idea of ​​going home soon.”

“We are facing a situation we have never experienced in the Netherlands, not just after landing, which means people have to be tested in Schiphol and wait for results.”

It said that those who do not live in the Netherlands can “continue their journey”.