Dutch authorities say omicron found in cases dating back 11 days
The omicron variant of COVID-19 was found in the Netherlands as early as Nov. 19, Dutch health officials confirmed Tuesday, according to Reuters.
“We have found the omicron coronavirus variant in two test samples that were taken on Nov. 19 and Nov. 23,” the officials reportedly stated.
“It is not clear yet whether these people have visited Southern Africa,” they added.
The cases predate two flights from South Africa that carried passengers who tested positive for the omicron variant. Fourteen people on the flights who flew into Amsterdam’s airport carried the omicron variant on Nov. 26, according to the Dutch National Institute for Public Health, Reuters noted.
A total of 624 passengers returning from South Africa were screened for COVID-19 at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam on Nov. 26. Of the more than 600 passengers screened, 61 tested positive for COVID-19.
Multiple nations in Europe have all also confirmed cases of the new omicron variant, which was first discovered in South Africa.
Chief White House medical adviser Anthony Fauci has stated that the virus will “inevitably” arrive in the United States.
President Biden said on Monday that “this variant is a cause for concern, not a cause for panic.”
“We have the best vaccine in the world, the best medicines, the best scientists, and we’re learning more every single day,” he added. “And we’ll fight this variant with scientific and knowledgeable actions and speed. Not chaos and confusion.”