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Omicron super strain Fears Covid has arrived in the UK as the first confirmed case in Europe and passengers are banned from leaving the plane

A NEW Covid super strain was officially named a “worrying variant” by the WHO this evening – amid fears it has spread to the UK.

A dramatic video shows passengers being barred from disembarking an Amsterdam flight upon arrival from South Africa hours after Belgium confirmed its first case in Europe.

A passenger on a flight from South Africa to Amsterdam records when they were told they would not be disembarking

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A passenger on a flight from South Africa to Amsterdam records when they were told they would not be disembarkingCredit: Paula Zimmerman
International passengers walk through the pick-up area at Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport on November 26

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International passengers walk through the pick-up area at Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport on November 26Credit: Getty
Paula Zimmerman filmed as passengers were told they would not be allowed off the flight

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Paula Zimmerman filmed as passengers were told they would not be allowed off the flight

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Variant B.1.1.529, now renamed Omicron, has twice as many mutations as the delta strain and experts are warning that it could force countries back into lockdown.

It is now known in five countries after Belgium detected its first case this afternoon from an unvaccinated person returning from abroad – the first case in Europe.

Passengers flying to the Netherlands from South Africa have been barred from disembarking as the continent tightens its borders in an attempt to stem a strain that scientists describe as “the worst variant ever” now”.

They were eventually released from the runway after being forced to take a test and leave their details with contact tracing equipment.

Heading to the UK from South Africa, other passengers were also “quarantined” at Amsterdam Airport as the travel ban expired.

About 150 travelers on the KLM flight said they were held on the tarmac for four hours before being ushered into a holding area inside the terminal building.

They were given little information and only had one sandwich for eight hours, some claimed.

Guarded by Dutch military police, one passenger reported aggression between passengers and staff over the matter.

Back in the UK, Britons from the epicenter of the Johannesburg variant were left to mingle with hundreds of others as they flew to Heathrow on the last flights out of Africa before the red list was announced. reapply.

It was revealed that passengers flying to Heathrow said they were not checked or questioned about their travel history.

And now a manhunt is underway to track down hundreds of passengers who have just arrived from South Africa, Health Minister Sajid Javid said.

People who have arrived in the UK from South Africa in recent days are being urged to take a free PCR test as UK health officials hold urgent discussions on how to respond to the threat. threaten new variant.

But Angelique Coetzee, president of the South African Medical Association, said it was too early to start imposing travel restrictions.

“It was a hasty decision,” she told the BBC. “I would understand if two weeks later and we know more about the ongoing viral infection

“But right now, it’s a storm in a cup of tea, we only learned of this viral mutation … a week ago.

“So far what we’ve seen are very mild cases, so I’m not sure why we gave up.”

‘STORM IN TEACUP’

It comes as hospitals in the Netherlands prepare for a “Code Black” situation because it is not possible to soon have enough beds for people hit by Covid.

Dutch Health Minister Hugo de Jonge insists the country is still “very far” from black horse – but Peter Langenbach, chairman of the board of directors of the Maasstad Hospital in Rotterdam, opposes this.

And in Germany, hospitals fill up quickly as authorities are forced to send seriously ill people across the country in search of intensive care beds.

Professor Lothar Wieler, head of the Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s federal disease control agency, said the country was at a “crossroads”.

“We have a choice. Either we choose the path that leads to chaos and bad endings or the path that messes with the health system and can deliver a Merry Christmas. “

Germany is even considering making the vaccine mandatory as Angela Merkel warns that next winter will be “worse than anything we’ve seen”.

The dreaded variant spreading through southern Africa is also “more contagious” than Delta and is likely to reach Britain, UK ministers warn.

“We are concerned that this new variant may pose a significant risk to public health. This variant has a large number of unusual mutations,” said Mr. Javid.

He warned that a virus strain that combines elements of the Alpha, Beta and Delta super strains has swept through the UK during the pandemic.

The health minister added that early signs suggest that current vaccines “may be less effective against it”.

He told MPs that the “Nu” strain was “of great international concern” because it could avoid our current vaccine case.

The WHO said the first case started on November 9, and the strain is more likely to infect people who have survived Covid or been vaccinated.

‘BIG INTERNATIONAL CONCERN’

Outside of Europe, a “terrible” mutation was also detected in Israel today, with the country’s Health Ministry confirming that one person has tested positive for the strain.

In a statement today, the ministry said two other passengers are also being quarantined.

It said the patient had recently returned from Malawi, which borders Mozambique and Tanzania.

The fact that the patient has returned from Malawi suggests that this variant is traveling through Africa.

There are almost 80 cases of the disease in South Africa, and experts warn that the strain is behind an explosion of new cases, with some regions seeing a six-fold increase in infections just in a few days.

The mutation has raised alarm in the country as it has ‘spread rapidly’ among the young population in one of the country’s most populous provinces, Gauteng.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the country is still gathering information about this variant.

“I ask everyone to be prepared and fully engaged in round-the-clock work,” he added.

Medics in Brussels treat a Covid-19 ICU patient as they record their first Omicron case

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Medics in Brussels treat a Covid-19 ICU patient as they record their first Omicron caseCredit: EPA

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https://www.the-sun.com/health/4149156/fears-omicron-in-uk-first-case-in-europe/ Omicron super strain Fears Covid has arrived in the UK as the first confirmed case in Europe and passengers are banned from leaving the plane

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