Amsterdam [Netherlands], November 30 (ANI): Netherlands health officials on Tuesday said that the new COVID-19 variant Omicron was detected in the country a week earlier than previously believed.
"RIVM has found the Omicron variant in test samples taken in the Netherlands earlier in November. These samples were taken in the GGD test lanes on 19 and 23 November 2021," National Health and Environment Institute said in a statement.
The RIVM also said that it is not yet clear whether the people concerned (in the earlier cases) have also been to southern Africa.
"On November 29, two samples were confirmed as the Omicron variant. It is not yet clear whether these people had also visited southern Africa," RIVM said, adding that the people had been informed and municipal health services had now started contact investigations.
The 13 people were identified among 61 passengers who tested positive for coronavirus, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) said in a statement.
Initial results from genome sequencing showed the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) in 13 of the samples from the positive tests, said the RIVM.
On November 26, 624 passengers from South Africa were tested for coronavirus. Of them, 61 received a positive test result.
The Omicron variant (B.1.1.529), a new variant of the COVID-19, was first reported in Botswana on November 11, 2021, and appeared on November 14 in South Africa. It has been declared a variant of concern by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The number of cases of this variant appears to be increasing in almost all provinces in South Africa. (ANI)