| 24 May 2024, Friday |

Omicron variant spreads with cases detected in Netherlands, Denmark, Australia

On Sunday, the Omicron coronavirus strain continued to spread throughout the world, with 13 cases discovered in the Netherlands and two each in Denmark and Australia, even as additional nations implemented travel restrictions in an attempt to isolate themselves.

The 13 instances of the variation were discovered on two flights from South Africa to Amsterdam on Friday, according to Dutch health authorities.

Authorities had examined all 600 passengers on the two flights and discovered 61 coronavirus infections, which were then tested for the novel type.

“It is not impossible that additional instances may emerge in the Netherlands,” Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said during a press conference in Rotterdam. “This might be just the tip of the iceberg.”

The World Health Organization designated Omicron as a “variant of concern” last week, causing fear throughout the world that it might defy immunizations and extend the almost two-year COVID-19 pandemic.

It was found in South Africa and has since spread to the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, Botswana, Israel, Australia, and Hong Kong.

Omicron may be more infectious than prior versions, however doctors are unsure if it will cause more or less severe COVID-19 than other strains.

Many nations have implemented travel bans or restrictions on southern Africa in an attempt to halt the spread. On Friday, financial markets plummeted as investors worried that the variant would derail the global recovery. Oil prices have dropped by around $10 per barrel.

On Sunday, most Gulf stock markets finished down, with the Saudi and Dubai indexes suffering their largest single-day losses in nearly two years. more info

Denmark said it had documented two instances in travelers from South Africa in fresh cases discovered on Sunday, while officials in Australia said two travellers who landed in Sydney from southern Africa had tested positive for the variety.

Austria was looking into a possible case, while France’s Health Minister Olivier Veran said the variation was likely already spreading there.


To combat the spread of the version, Israel stated late Saturday that it will prevent all foreigners from entering the country and restore counter-terrorism phone-tracking technologies.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the ban will be in effect for 14 days, pending cabinet approval. Officials expect that further information on the effectiveness of Omicron vaccinations will be available within that time frame.

  • Reuters