OMICRON

13 air passengers test positive for new variant

They are among 61 passengers who tested positive for coronavirus.

In Summary

• It comes as tighter restrictions come into force in the Netherlands, amid record Covid cases and concerns over the new variant.

• This includes early closing times for hospitality and cultural venues, and limits on home gatherings.

South Africa has been badly hit by coronavirus.
South Africa has been badly hit by coronavirus.
Image: AFP

The new coronavirus variant Omicron has been detected in 13 people who arrived in the Dutch capital Amsterdam on two flights from South Africa.

They are among 61 passengers who tested positive for coronavirus.

It comes as tighter restrictions come into force in the Netherlands, amid record Covid cases and concerns over the new variant.

This includes early closing times for hospitality and cultural venues, and limits on home gatherings.

Omicron was first reported to the World Health Organization by South Africa on Wednesday, and early evidence suggests it has a higher re-infection risk.

The flights by Dutch national carrier KLM from Johannesburg arrived at 10:30 and 11:00 local time (09:30 and 10:00 GMT) on Friday.

The passengers who tested positive for Covid-19 have been quarantined at a hotel near Amsterdam's Schiphol airport.

Those that tested negative have been asked to isolate at home for five days and take further tests, while those in transit were allowed to continue their journeys.

After announcing the 13 cases on Sunday, the Dutch health minister warned that there could be further cases of the new variant in the country.