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Updated on: Saturday, November 27, 2021, 06:35 PM IST

Netherlands: 61 arrivals from South Africa test positive for COVID-19, tests underway to see if there are any cases of Omicron variant

A Red Cross van transporting passengers of flights from South Africa who have tested positive for Covid-19 drives to a hotel where they will be quarantined on November 27, 2021, at Amsterdams Schiphol airport. | AFP Photo

A Red Cross van transporting passengers of flights from South Africa who have tested positive for Covid-19 drives to a hotel where they will be quarantined on November 27, 2021, at Amsterdams Schiphol airport. | AFP Photo

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A total of 61 people who arrived in Amsterdam on two flights from South Africa on Friday tested positive for COVID-19. They have been placed in isolation at a hotel near Schiphol airport.

Meanwhile, further tests are now underway to see if there are any cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 that was first discovered in southern Africa.

According to Associated Press, the two planes arrived in the Netherlands from Johannesburg and Cape Town shortly after the Dutch government, along with other nations around the world, on Friday imposed a ban on flights from southern African nations following discovery of the new Omicron variant.

The Kennermerland local health authority, which is responsible for the testing and isolation operation, said in an update Saturday that the people who tested positive must quarantine for seven days if they have symptoms and five days if they are symptom-free.

The 539 travelers who tested negative were allowed to return home or continue their journeys to other countries. Under government regulations, those who live in the Netherlands and are allowed to return home must self-isolate for at least five days.

Germany reports first suspected case of Omicron variant of COVID-19

The first suspected case of the Omicron variant has been detected in Germany in a person who recently returned from South Africa, tweeted Kai Klose, social affairs minister in western state of Hesse, on Saturday.

"The Omicron variant is, in all likelihood, already present in Germany," he said. "Several mutations typical of Omicron were found last night in a traveller returning from South Africa. There is therefore a high level of suspicion and the person has been isolated. The complete sequencing is still pending at the current time," he added.

If confirmed, this would be the second case of Omicron detected in the European Union after Belgian authorities had on Friday announced that a traveller who returned from Egypt had tested positive for the variant.

(With AP inputs)

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Published on: Saturday, November 27, 2021, 06:35 PM IST
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