Denmark has recorded just two cases of the Omicron variant so far, with the Netherlands reporting 13; both nations found that all carriers of the new variant recently arrived from southern Africa. The Dutch Health Minister said that he expects more cases to rapidly appear within the country, with the Danish health authorities also actively monitoring its spread. Meanwhile, the U.K. is introducing new measures to directly tackle the variant, whereas elsewhere in Europe, various nations imposed lockdown restrictions in response to a sharp increase in Covid cases before the Omicron variant landed on the Continent, and could expand the restrictions further still. The Express has the story.
With large parts of Europe, including Austria, Germany and potentially France, already vying to ramp up restrictions in response to a recent increase in non-Omicron Covid cases, eyes will now be on leaders to see how they choose to respond to the emerging variant. But numerous health officials have played down fears of the variant and two of the world’s largest Covid vaccine producers have said they will be able to “very quickly” update their jabs “if they need to”.
The latest European countries to report Omicron Covid variant infections are the Netherlands and Denmark.
Dutch health authorities announced that 13 cases of the variant were reported among passengers who arrived in Amsterdam on Friday on two flights from South Africa.
This was out of a total of 600 passengers, 61 of whom tested positive for Covid.
Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said: “It is not unlikely more cases will appear in the Netherlands.
This could possibly be the tip of the iceberg.”
Denmark also announced two cases of the variant on Sunday.
Both people who were found to have been infected by the variant had travelling from South Africa.
In response, Director of the State Serum Institute Henrik Ullum, quoted in Reuters, said: “This was to be expected, and our strategy is therefore to continue intensive monitoring of the infection in the country.”
Beyond Europe, health officials in Australia have reported two cases of the variant in people who had arrived in the country from southern Africa.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson led a press conference on Saturday afternoon after two Omicron cases were reported in Britain.
He said that “we simply don’t yet know enough” about the variant, but insisted that a “precautionary approach” must be taken against it.
This includes the reintroduction of face mask mandates and the tightening up of travel restrictions.
All people who travel to Britain must now self-isolate until a PCR tests shows they are Covid negative, even if they are displaying no Covid symptoms.
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