Two suspected cases of the new corona variant, Omicron, have been detected in travellers entering Denmark from South Africa, according to a press release from the Ministry of Health late Saturday.
"The authorities have a reasonable suspicion that we have the first two cases of the new variant Omicron in Denmark, which has been detected by the variant PCR tests," said Health Minister Magnus Heunicke in the press release.
"The two people who have been infected have been in South Africa and are now in isolation and the authorities are in the process of tracking down the third link...And the authorities are working hard to get the same call out to everyone who was on the same plane that they infected," said Heunicke.
Meanwhile, the Danish Agency for Patient Safety on Saturday night called for passengers from two flights from the Netherlands's Amsterdam to Danish capital Copenhagen on Nov. 23 and Billund city on Nov. 24 to go in quarantined and get tested.
The final confirmation of the test result of the two suspected cases will be available within the next few days. The Health Ministry noted that it is particularly concerned with the new variant because it has "many more mutations in the spike protein than usual," and there is "uncertainty" about how contagious it is and how effective current vaccines will be against it.
The Omicron variant (B.1.1.529), a new variant of the coronavirus, was first reported in Botswana on Nov. 11, 2021 and appeared on Nov. 14 in South Africa.
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, in a statement on Friday, has urged EU member states to suspend flights from southern African countries where the new variant was first detected.
In the past 24 hours, the SSI registered 3,744 new COVID-19 infections and 13 new deaths, bringing the national totals to 474,637 cases and 2,863 deaths.
As a third more worrying epidemic wave strikes Denmark, COVID-19 has again been classified as socially critical disease since Nov.11. The authorities thus re-introduced the corona passport in a number of areas such as restaurants, cafes, hospitals and zoos.
As an effort to "curb the infection and keep Denmark open," the authorities also recommended wearing a face-masks on public transport and in the retail sector starting from next Monday.