Hundreds come forward to get tested for Omicron variant after traveling in Africa
About 580 people who recently returned to the Netherlands from southern Africa have contacted a new hotline set up by the GGD to book a Covid test. The health service is also calling people who have recently flown from the area to the Netherlands, a spokeswoman for GGD GHOR Nederland said. "We have all the passenger lists in by now," she added.
These are people who returned after November 21 from the region where the Omicron variant of the coronavirus was identified. The GGD and the Ministry of Health are calling on all affected travelers to go into quarantine and get tested as a precaution, even if they have no symptoms.
The health authorities are attempting to stop the spread of the variant, labeled "of concern" by the World Health Organization (WHO). The RIVM will further investigate positive tests, the spokeswoman said. This tracking will help determine all individuals carrying the new variant.
The Omicron variant was identified in South Africa. The advice to get tested and stay at home also applies to people who have returned from Lesotho, Swaziland (Eswatini), Namibia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Malawi.
So far, the RIVM has identified 14 people who tested positive for the Omicron variant after returning from South Africa. These people are among the group of 61 people who tested positive at Schiphol Airport last Friday. The RIVM expects to give more information on Tuesday from the ongoing investigation that is being conducted from these test samples, said a spokesperson.
Reporting by ANP