The Omicron coronavirus variant was discovered in test samples collected in the Netherlands between November 19 and November 23, according to the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM).
“In a special PCR test, the samples showed an abnormality in the spike protein,” the RIVM said.
“This raised the concern that the Omicron variant of the coronavirus might be involved.”
Two samples were identified as Omicron variants. It is unclear whether these individuals also travelled to southern Africa.
The RIVM has notified the Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs) in the areas where the samples were collected. According to Xinhua, the GGD will notify those involved and begin source and contact tracing.
South Africa was the first to report the Omicron variant. Last Friday, 624 people arriving in the Netherlands from South Africa were tested for the coronavirus at Schiphol Airport, with 61 of them testing positive. According to the most recent RIVM data, the Omicron variant has been found in 14 of those people.
“Laboratory tests identified several different strains of the Omicron variant,” the RIVM added.
“This means that the people were probably infected independently from each other, from different sources and in different locations.”