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Dutch health officials say that the new COVID-19 variant was detected in the Netherlands as early as November 19, one week before it was reported by South African authorities.
The National Institute for Public Health (RIVM) said it “has found the Omicron variant in test samples taken in the Netherlands earlier in November. These samples were taken in the GGD test lanes on 19 and 23 November 2021.”
RIVM added that a PCR test revealed abnormalities in the spike protein, which prompted health authorities to investigate if the new variant was involved.
As of Tuesday, 44 cases of the Omicron variant were reported across 11 European Union nations. Outside of this, Omicron infections have also been found in Australia, Canada, Britain, and Israel.