Thirteen cases detected in Netherlands as Omicron variant spreads | Sri Lanka News


More omicron infections were reported around the world on Sunday, with 13 cases of the new coronavirus variant found in the Netherlands and two in Australia, as more countries tried to seal themselves off by imposing travel restrictions.

Dutch health authorities announced that the 13 cases of the variant were found among passengers who were on flights from South Africa that arrived in Amsterdam on Friday.

The discovery of omicron, classified as a variant of concern last week by the World Health Organization, has sparked worries around the world that it could resist vaccinations and prolong the nearly two-year COVID-19 pandemic. Scientific research has yet to confirm those concerns about the infectiousness and transmissibility of the new variant.

First discovered in South Africa, the variant has also been detected in Britain, Germany, Denmark, Italy, Belgium, Botswana, Israel and Hong Kong.

New Zealand announced it was restricting travel from nine southern African countries because of the threat posed by the variant, and Japan widened its border controls to include more countries from the region.

Tourist-dependent Thailand, which only recently began loosening its tight border restrictions to leisure travellers from certain countries, announced a ban of its own on visitors from eight African counties. Similar restrictions took effect in the business hub of Singapore, which is barring entry and transit to anyone with a recent history of travel to seven southern African nations.

Sri Lanka banned disembarkation of passengers arriving from six African countries due to the detection of the omicron variant, as did the Maldives, the luxury Indian Ocean resort archipelago. In addition to the similar entry ban, quarantine officials in the Philippines have been ordered to track down recent travellers from southern Africa and put them in a quarantine.

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