The brand new coronavirus variant Omicron has been detected in 13 individuals who arrived within the Dutch capital Amsterdam on two flights from South Africa.
They’re amongst 61 passengers who examined constructive for coronavirus.
It comes as tighter restrictions come into power within the Netherlands, amid file Covid instances and considerations over the brand new variant.
This contains early closing instances for hospitality and cultural venues, and limits on residence gatherings.
Omicron was first reported to the World Well being Group (WHO) by South Africa on Wednesday, and early proof suggests it has the next re-infection threat. It has been categorised by the WHO as a "variant of concern".
However after many nations world wide limit journey from southern African nations over the variant, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa known as for the bans to be urgently lifted.
In an deal with to the nation on Sunday he mentioned the strikes had been unjustified and never primarily based on science.
The Dutch Nationwide Institute for Public Well being introduced the 13 Omicron instances on Sunday, however famous that its investigation had "not but been accomplished", which means the brand new variant may nonetheless be discovered in additional take a look at samples.
Dutch Well being Minister Hugo de Jonge made an "pressing request" for individuals who have returned from southern Africa to get examined for Covid "as quickly as attainable".
"It’s not unthinkable that there are extra instances within the Netherlands," he informed reporters.
Circumstances of the closely mutated variant have now been reported in numerous nations world wide, together with a number of in Europe, such because the UK, Germany and Italy.
The flights by Dutch nationwide provider KLM from Johannesburg arrived on Friday morning. The 600 passengers on board had been held for a number of hours after arriving whereas they had been examined for the virus.
New York Instances correspondent Stephanie Nolen, who was on one of many flights, tweeted that the passengers weren’t even introduced water whereas they remained on the airplane.
Passengers travelling from South Africa to the UK through Amsterdam informed the BBC that they had been held on the tarmac at Schiphol airport for 4 hours, earlier than finally disembarking.
The passengers who had been confirmed to have Covid-19 have since been quarantined at a lodge close to Schiphol airport.
People who examined adverse have been requested to isolate at residence for 5 days and take additional checks. Officers mentioned these in transit could be allowed to proceed their journeys, although there have been studies on Saturday that some passengers had not acquired written proof of a adverse take a look at and had been due to this fact unable to board onward flights.
Dutch well being authorities had been additionally attempting to contact and take a look at 1000’s of different passengers who had travelled from seven southern African nations – South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia or Zimbabwe – since Monday.
The Netherlands is one in every of many nations world wide to have now imposed journey restrictions on nations in southern Africa in response to the brand new variant.
Some have additionally gone additional, with Israel set to bar entry to all international nationals and Morocco banning all inbound worldwide flights for 2 weeks from Monday.
Switzerland has ordered that passengers from different nations the place the variant has been detected, together with the UK and the Netherlands, present proof of a adverse coronavirus take a look at and quarantine for 10 days.
Dr Angelique Coetzee, chair of the South African Medical Affiliation, informed the BBC nations might be "panicking unnecessarily" and the signs she had seen from the brand new variant had been "extraordinarily delicate".
In the meantime, the Netherlands is one in every of a number of European nations struggling to include file numbers of coronavirus infections.
It has a scarcity of intensive care beds, operations are being cancelled and tons of of individuals are dying of Covid each week, the BBC's Anna Holligan in The Hague says.
An prolonged partial lockdown got here into power on Sunday morning and can stay in place for at the very least the following three weeks.
Bars, eating places and retailers – whose opening hours have already been restricted for a number of weeks – are required to shut sooner than earlier than, and there’s a restrict on the variety of company allowed in houses.
Individuals are additionally being inspired to work at home the place attainable, however nurseries, faculties and universities throughout the nation stay open.
Hundreds of individuals protested after the measures had been introduced.
The Netherlands has had almost 20,000 confirmed Covid-related deaths because the pandemic began.
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