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Data Reveals Omicron Variant Was Detected In The Netherlands Before Africa Raised The Alarm

Data Reveals Omicron Variant Was Detected In The Netherlands Before Africa Raised The Alarm

One of the cases had no travel history to South Africa.

Data has revealed the Omicron variant of the coronavirus was discovered in The Netherlands before Africa had reported its first cases.

The National Institute for Public Health (RVIM) was checking over test samples of positive cases and discovered the new strain was present in two individuals, one on November 19 and the other four days later.

When looking at the Omicron timeline, that means there were two people who had the new variant before authorities in Africa raised the alarm.

It was believed to have originated in South Africa or Botswana, however researchers haven't zeroed in on its exact origins, and might never find out.

RIVM infectious diseases chief Aura Timen told AFP: "We found two additional cases of Omicron variant which have been sampled on the 19th and 23rd of November. So that points at the presence already of this variant in the Netherlands."


It was previously believed the variant arrived in The Netherlands after two flights flew into the country from South Africa last week.

However, one of the first two Dutch cases was found to have no travel history to South Africa.

RIVM's Chantal Reusken told the ABC: "One of the two had a travel history to South Africa, the other did not. This means that this person most likely picked the Omicron variant up in the Netherlands.

"The size of the chain of transmission is not known yet... currently we are looking into this."

There have been 61 cases from those flights, which had roughly 600 passengers onboard, however genomic testing has unearthed another piece to this ever growing puzzle.

"The Omicron variant was found in 14 of those [61] people," RIVM said. "Laboratory tests identified several different strains of the Omicron variant.

"This means the people were very probably infected independently from each other, from different sources and in different locations."

AFP claims Belgium and Germany also have recorded cases of Omicron before South Africa officially notified the World Health Organization on November 24.

It raises important questions after several countries, including Australia, banned or restricted travellers coming from nine southern Africa nations.

The Omicron variant has been detected in several European countries, as well as Australia, Canada and Hong Kong.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Omicron, News