Coronavirus latest news: Over 60 test positive after flying from South Africa to Amsterdam as fears rise over Omicron variant

The passengers from South Africa were held on the tarmac at the airport and had to be tested for coronaviruses.

The Dutch health authorities said on Saturday that 61 passengers from two flights from South Africa tested positive for Covid-19 and the results were being examined for the new omicron variant.

The people who tested positive are being held in a hotel near Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, where the 600 people on board the two planes from South Africa spent hours waiting on Friday.

The Dutch Health Authority said that 61 of the results were positive.

The positive test results will be looked at as soon as possible to see if the new variant is related to the positive test results.

A German regional official said on Saturday that health authorities have identified the first suspected case in the country of the new variant, in a person who returned from South Africa.

Kai Klose, the social affairs minister in the western state of Hesse, said that the strain first detected in southern Africa was likely to arrive in Germany.

11:01 PM

Omicron is likely already in the US.

Scientists said that Omicron is likely already here in the United States.

The US Covid-19 rates have increased in recent weeks, mainly in northern states, as people move indoors to avoid winter weather.

Travel from southern Africa has been limited. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center said that individuals should still assess their vulnerability to Covid-19 and tolerance for risk as they make travel decisions for the winter holidays.

He and others said that vaccinations should remain a priority despite the fact that they may not be effective against omicron. Everyone should wash their hands, wear masks, and avoid crowds.

Dr Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, said that they have all the tools to work against any variant.

12:57 PM

How worried should we be about the omicron variant?

The new variant was first identified in South Africa, but also in Europe and Asia.

Why are scientists worried?

The World Health Organization classified it as a "variant of concern."

It could be several more weeks before scientists can determine the type of disease caused by the variant, determine how contagious it is and identify how far it has already spread.

Experts don't know if omicron will cause more or less severe Covid-19 compared to other strains.

The biggest question is whether the vaccine will work. Will people who have been exposed to the coronaviruses be immune to omicron?

12:14 PM

There has been a rise in Covid-19 deaths.

Deaths are rising across Europe as the fourth wave takes hold. The Czech Republic has seen the largest increase in deaths. Next is Austria, followed by Germany.

12:14 PM

The latest variant of Covid is called omicron.

The World Health Organization has named the new coronaviruses variant omicron, skipping two letters of the Greek alphabet to avoid giving the most dangerous variant the same name as the leader of the Chinese Communist Party.

The World Health Organization announced in May of 2021 that the new variant of the coronaviruses would be named after Greek letters.

The only official labels were assigned by scientific databases and featured a letter followed by a string of numbers.

The place where they were first found, such as Kent, Brazil and South Africa, became the new name for these clunky names.

The health officials wanted a naming system that avoided discrimination and prejudice.

The WHO settled on the Greek alphabet as the official name for birds because it was easy to digest.

All pre-existing variants were named after their emergence, while those that emerged took up the next letter in the alphabet.

The Kent variant became known as alpha, the South African variant became eta, the Brazilian variant became gamma and the Indian variant became delta.

There have been 9 other forms stretching all the way down to Mu.

The 13th variant omicron, the 15th letter of the alphabet, was called the World Health Organization on Friday.

The WHO has not given an explanation for why the 13th letter of the alphabet, Nu, was skipped.

It's not clear if Nu and Xi will be used as variant names in the future.

11:53 AM

There are concerns that lead to more travel curbs on southern Africa.

Although epidemiologists say travel curbs may be too late to stop omicron from circulating globally, many countries around the world announced travel restrictions on Friday.

Australian citizens and their dependents will have to go through a 14-day scurvy period if they return from southern Africa after Australia banned non-citizens who have been there before from entering.

Japan imposed curbs on travel from South Africa, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, and other African countries on Friday.

Travel curbs were also announced by Thailand and Sri Lanka.

11:38 AM

South Africa was punished for detecting omicron variant.

The World Health Organization has said that the new Covid-19 variant omicron is more transmissible than the Delta strain, and that South Africa is being punished for detecting it.

The foreign affairs ministry said in a statement that the decision by a number of countries to ban flights from southern Africa is akin to punishing South Africa for its advancedgenomics and ability to detect new variant quicker.

11:30 AM.

The Czechs have a suspected case of omicron variant of coronaviruses.

The National Institute of Public Health said on Saturday that the Czech Republic is looking into a case of the omicron variant of the coronaviruses.

A positive specimen of the omicron variant is being looked at by a lab. We are waiting for confirmation or refutation of the case.

11:02 AM

The strain poses a high to very high risk to Europe.

The new strain poses a high to very high risk to the EU.

The GGD said that passengers who test positive must stay in a hotel for seven days if they show symptoms and five days if they don't.

The passengers who tested negative are expected to stay in the Netherlands.

The statement said that people have just made a long trip with the idea that they will soon be home.

They are confronted with a situation we have never before experienced in the Netherlands, namely that people have to be tested at Schiphol and are forced to wait until they get a result.

It said that those who do not live in the Netherlands can continue their journey.