It now looks like our ‘virus without borders’ was actually circulating around Europe long before some countries decided to impose travel bans on South Africa, following the discovery of the Omicron variant. Researchers in The Netherlands have confirmed the new strain was detected ONE WEEK previous to the infamous incident at Schipol.
Hundreds of South Africans were left stranded on the tarmac after landing at the Amsterdam-based airport last Friday, and passengers were refused entry into The Netherlands. It was discovered that 14 people had come down with an Omicron infection before boarding the plane, sparking mass panic at the terminal.
In the days that followed, a host of European nations decided to shut their borders to South Africa – but Omicron cases are now cropping up in most of these locations. The UK, which unceremoniously put Mzansi back on its travel red list last Thursday, has also detected approximately a dozen cases of the new variant.
The Netherlands’ National Institute for Public Health and the Environment has now explained, however, that samples taken days before the aforementioned flights landed show that Omicron was already within their borders:
“The Omicron variant was found in test samples taken in The Netherlands earlier this month, on November 19 and 23. In the coming period, various studies will be conducted on the distribution of the Omicron variant in The Netherlands. It is not yet clear whether the people concerned have also been to Southern Africa.”
“On November 26, 624 people returning from South Africa were tested for COVID at Schiphol Airport. Of these, 61 passengers received a positive test result. In total, the Omicron variant was diagnosed in 14 of them.
“During the laboratory investigation, different types of virus strains of the Omicron variant were found. This means that the people most likely got infected separately from each other, from a different source and in a different place.”
De coronavariant #omikron is aangetroffen in testmonsters die eerder deze maand, op 19 en 23 november, zijn afgenomen in Nederland. De komende tijd vinden er verschillende onderzoeken plaats naar de verspreiding van de omikronvariant in Nederland.
— RIVM (@rivm) November 30, 2021