Dutch test for new variant after finding 61 COVID cases among South Africa passengers By Reuters


© Reuters. Law enforcement officials stand guard following Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s announcement of latest measures to combat a report surge in coronavirus illness (COVID-19) infections, in The Hague, Netherlands, November 26, 2021. REUTERS/Eva Plevier

By Toby Sterling and Bart H. Meijer

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) -Dutch well being authorities mentioned on Saturday they’d detected 61 COVID-19 instances amongst individuals who flew from South Africa on Friday and had been now doing additional assessments to see whether or not any are contaminated with the brand new Omicron variant.

The instances had been found amongst round 600 passengers who arrived at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport on two flights on Friday earlier than the Dutch authorities halted air visitors from Africa attributable to considerations over the variant.

Dutch well being authorities mentioned on Saturday they’d additionally search to contact vacationers who had arrived from South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe since Monday and urge them to take a check as quickly as potential.

The passengers from Friday’s flights had been saved separated from different vacationers and people who examined constructive are being saved in isolation at a resort close to the airport.

A spokesperson for the well being ministry mentioned it could not be recognized till later Saturday whether or not any of the passengers are contaminated with the brand new variant.

A spokesperson for KLM, the Dutch arm of Air France, mentioned the airline was making an attempt to find out what guidelines had been in place as of Friday morning to forestall individuals with COVID-19 infections from boarding the flights, which departed from Cape City and Johannesburg.

Guidelines on the corporate’s web site mentioned passengers needed to current a detrimental COVID-19 “fast antigen” check end result taken 24 hours earlier than departure however weren’t required to point out proof of vaccination.

‘REALLY WEIRD’

Paula Zimmerman, a Dutch photographer who returned from a household go to in South Africa on Friday morning, mentioned the state of affairs for the passengers on the planes was chaotic, as they had been saved ready on the tarmac and within the terminal for hours.

Zimmerman was informed she had examined detrimental at four am, virtually 18 hours after touchdown in Amsterdam, however mentioned she then discovered she was standing proper subsequent to a person who knew he had examined constructive for an an infection.

“It was actually bizarre. There was no coordination. There have been too few individuals and there actually wasn’t anyone who took management.”

Having spent hours on a flight that seemingly had many contaminated passengers made Zimmerman anxious for the times to come back, she mentioned.

“I have been informed that they count on that much more individuals will check constructive after 5 days. It is just a little scary the concept that you’ve got been in a aircraft with lots of people who examined constructive.”

The Dutch flight ban doesn’t imply that every one flights from southern Africa to the Netherlands are halted, as Dutch residents are allowed to return residence, whereas EU residents are allowed entry in transit to their residence international locations.

Medical workers, airline crews and other people with urgent wants are additionally nonetheless allowed to journey. KLM will proceed flights to the area, however vacationers want to remain in quarantine for no less than 5 days upon arrival within the Netherlands.

The brand new variant https://www.reuters.com/enterprise/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/what-we-know-about-covid-19-variant-detected-south-africa-2021-11-26 has been detected simply as many European international locations are grappling with a surge in coronavirus instances.

The Dutch authorities on Friday introduced https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/netherlands-impose-new-covid-measures-avoid-healthcare-breakdown-2021-11-26 the nighttime closure of bars, eating places and most shops because it tries to curb a record-breaking wave of COVID-19 instances that’s swamping its healthcare system.

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