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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Omikron variant found in 18 passengers of KLM flights from South Africa

The omikron variant of the coronavirus was found in 18 of the 61 passengers of the KLM flights that landed at Schiphol last week, RIVM reports on Saturday. The investigation into the presence of the omikron variant among the passengers of the flights has now been completed.

Some passengers who were found to be carrying the variant have mild complaints, according to the RIVM. The people who have no complaints are allowed to be out of isolation this Saturday. “The situation is different per person,” according to the RIVM. “For people who are still in isolation and are not allowed to travel, a safe solution is being sought in consultation with the GGD and the country of final destination.”

On Friday 26 November, the day on which the flights landed, there were no known infections with the omikron variant in the Netherlands, but a ban on flights from high-risk countries in the southern part of Africa was announced; it was there that the variant was first discovered.

The passengers were therefore carefully tested as a precaution and placed in isolation. Travelers who tested positive – 61 in total – were placed in a quarantine hotel at Schiphol. So 18 of these people tested positive for the omikron variant, according to the RIVM.

Omikron variant was already in the Netherlands

Earlier this week, RIVM reported that the omikron variant was already found in two people who tested positive for the coronavirus on 19 and 23 November. One of them had not traveled recently. This means that the variant has already spread within national borders.

The omikron variant appears to be more contagious than other variants of the virus. The World Health Organization (WHO) has labeled the variant “worrying”.

The entry ban of 26 November applies to non-EU citizens in a number of southern African countries. All travelers must be tested for corona on arrival. On Friday, the outgoing cabinet announced that the travel ban will be extended until December 15.