COVID strain Omicron first confirmed in southern Africa on November 9.
In the Netherlands, the first cases of the new COVID-19 Omicron strain are dated November 19 and 23, while a warning from South African experts was received only on November 24.
This is reported by The Guardian with reference to updated data from the Dutch National Institute of Health (RIVM).
It is noted that these cases are currently considered the first in Europe. They precede the identification of Omicron in 13 passengers who returned from South Africa last Friday and tested positive for a COVID test at Schipgol Airport in Amsterdam.
Meanwhile, the executive director of the European Medicines Agency, Emer Cook, said that researchers will need two weeks to determine whether Omicron is more resistant to the developed coronavirus vaccines.
If a different vaccine is needed to combat the new COVID strain, he said, it will take up to four months for the EU-27 bloc to get it approved.
Despite global concerns, South African doctors say Omicron patients have predominantly mild symptoms. At the same time, the majority of patients are between 20 and 30 years old.
November 26, The World Health Organization qualified a new strain of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which was named “Omicron”, as causing anxiety. This variant was first discovered on November 9 in South Africa.