India coronavirus variants found 8 times in Netherlands
Versions of the B.1.617 strain of coronavirus, thought to have originated in India, were found in the Netherlands a total of eight times from April 5 through May 2. The strain was classified by the World Health Organization as being of global concern just last week.
The RIVM pointed out that media reports suggest that the variant spreads at a faster rate. "But actually not much is known about this variant. The fact that the virus is spreading so quickly in India may mean that it is more contagious. But it could also be due to the circumstances in India," the health agency said.
Three cases of variant B.1.617.2 were found during the week ending May 2, the last date for which data was provided. That mutation was found once in each of the two preceding weeks. Before that, three cases of the of another variant from India, either B.1.617.1 or B.1.617.3.
The RIVM examines genetic material from approximately 1,200 random samples of the virus, which are supplied by laboratories all over the Netherlands on a weekly basis. The latest results released by the agency on Wednesday are from the week ending May 2 and are not yet complete. More than 600 samples are said to have been processed so far.
Variants are labeled as those “of concern” once it’s proven their transmissibility and virulence are greater than that of the original virus type. According to the RIVM, there is still a lot of uncertainty about the variant that was first discovered in the western Indian state of Maharashtra.
The Netherlands put in place a flight ban for passenger aircraft arriving from India. That ban is set to expire on June 1, but could be extended.
In the United Kingdom, many experts have warned that this strain could become dominant in the country over the course of a few days. In a country where the infection rates have begun to rapidly decline with their vaccination program, the newly discovered strain was also threatening to delay the final lockdown easing there, scheduled for June 21.
A total of 20,175 samples have been analyzed in the Netherlands so far. The vast majority of samples contained the B.1.1.7 strain of a virus which originated in the United Kingdom. The virus strain that originated in South Africa has been detected a total of 394 times.
Additionally, The P1 variant that originated in Brazil has been identified 169 times so far in the Netherlands.