On Tuesday, the Dutch Health Authorities announced that they had discovered the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in cases dating 11 days back, implying that the virus had been spreading even before South Africa discovered it.
The virus was discovered in two test samples taken in the country between November 19 and 23, which was several days before South Africa's report to the World Health Organization (WHO).
It is still unknown whether those who took the test had visited Southern African countries.
According to the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), the first cases of the new variant were thought to be 14 people on flights from Johannesburg and Cape Town who arrived at Amsterdam Schipol.
RIVM confirmed that it would re-examine more samples from previous tests.
"In the coming period, various studies will be conducted into the distribution of the Omicron variant in the Netherlands."
With 16 confirmed cases, the Netherlands has one of the highest numbers of the new strain in Europe.
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