Airport Omicron cases revised up to 18, passengers are still testing postive

Photo: Brandon Hartley

In total 18 of the passengers on two flights from South Africa which arrived in the Netherlands last Friday were carrying the Omicron variant of coronavirus, public health institute RIVM said on Saturday.

In total, 61 out of 624 people on the two flights were found to have coronavirus during a mass testing at the airport. The RIVM said earlier that 14 people had the Omicron version, but that has now been revised upwards.

All those passengers who no longer have symptoms will be allowed to leave quarantine on Sunday.

Arrival test

Passengers from southern Africa have been offered a coronavirus test on arrival at Schiphol since travel conditions were tightened up at the end of last month. And according to the regional health board, 9% of people having a voluntary test have been found to have coronavirus, even though they had to have a negative test to travel.

Most passengers are also probably fully vaccinated, the health board said. ‘This shows that the virus is spreading easily and that is worrying,’ regional health board chief Bert van de Velden said in a press statement.

The health board carried out 459 tests on passengers between Sunday and Thursday and found 41 positive cases. The testing centre will remain open until next week Saturday at least, Van de Velden said.

R total

In the Netherlands itself, the R total, or reproduction rate, has now fallen to 0.99, meaning each 100 infected people are passing the virus on to 99 others. It is the first time the R rate has fallen below 1 in well over two months.

The lower R rate means that the spread of the virus is now slowing down.

The RIVM received 22,723 reports of new coronavirus cases in the 24 hours to Saturday morning. The average number of new reports over the past seven days is now 21,666, which is a drop of 3% on the previous week, another indication that the infection rate may be declining.

Fewer people are also being treated in hospital. There are now 2,670 coronavirus patients in hospital, of whom 597 are in an intensive care ward.

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