Netherlands says Omicron variant was already in country earlier than previously thought

The Omicron variant was confirmed in two check samples taken on November 19 and November 23, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) mentioned on Tuesday.

RIVM virologist Chantal Reusken informed nationwide broadcaster NOS that one of many individuals had “probably contracted the virus in the Netherlands. How exactly is still under investigation.”

Dutch authorities beforehand believed that the primary circumstances of the Omicron variant had arrived on November 26 after 14 passengers on flights from Johannesburg and Capetown examined constructive.

Omicron, also called B.1.1.529, has an unusually excessive variety of mutations, sparking fears that it might evade vaccines and delay the pandemic.

The two newly found circumstances within the Netherlands takes the full variety of confirmed Omicron circumstances within the nation to 16, the RIVM mentioned. At least 20 nations and territories have confirmed circumstances of the Omicron variant thus far, with the newest being Brazil.

At least 70 countries, amongst them the United States, imposed new journey restrictions from a number of African nations after Omicron was first recognized by South African scientists.

But many well being consultants have pushed again on the reasoning behind the bans, with research exhibiting that journey restrictions might solely gradual the introduction of a brand new virus or variant by just a few weeks.

The World Health Organization has repeatedly expressed fears that journey bans damage economies and discourage nations from being forthright about reporting new viruses or variants.

On Tuesday, the WHO once more urged nations to keep away from implementing knee-jerk journey bans, saying that they don’t “prevent the international spread,” and “place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods.”

“Putting in place travel bans that target Africa attacks global solidarity,” WHO Regional Director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti mentioned Sunday. “Covid-19 constantly exploits our divisions. We will only get the better of the virus if we work together for solutions.”

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