Health authorities in the Netherlands reported on Nov. 28 that it has found 13 cases of the new Omicron coronavirus variant among passengers entering the country via two flights from South Africa two days ago on Friday, Reuters reported.
The two flights carried about 600 people.
Amongst them, 61 passengers tested positive for Covid-19.
Among the positive cases were the 13 Omicron cases.
Positive cases are being kept in isolation at a hotel near the airport.
Just the tip of the iceberg
The concern now is that this positive cases are just the ones detected, with many more present in the population.
Dutch health authorities are seeking to contact and test about 5,000 other passengers who have travelled from South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia or Zimbabwe since Monday, Nov. 22.
Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said at a press conference in Rotterdam: "It is not unlikely more cases will appear in the Netherlands."
"This could possibly be the tip of the iceberg."
The Netherlands bans flights from southern Africa
The Dutch investigation began with testing of all the people who arrived on the two flights from South Africa at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport on Friday.
This was before the Dutch government changed its rules on air traffic from southern Africa due to concerns over the variant.
The Dutch government subsequently installed a ban for flights from Botswana, Eswathini, Lesotho, Namibia, South-Africa and Zimbabwe that will last till Dec. 4, 2021.
The fear of Omicron is due to it being able to resist vaccinations and prolonging the nearly two-year Covid-19 pandemic.
Unrest in the Netherlands
On Nov. 28, rules went into effect in the Netherlands mandating the closure of bars, restaurants and most stores at 5pm.
Authorities are trying to reverse a record-breaking wave of Covid-19 cases that is overrunning the healthcare system.
Fresh riots against the new restrictions have broken out in the country.
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