On 26 November 2021, 624 passengers returning from South Africa were tested for the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 by the GGD Kennemerland. The passengers were tested at Schiphol Airport; 61 of them tested positive for COVID-19. These test samples were sent to RIVM National Institute for Public Health and the Environment for further analysis to determine which variant of the coronavirus was involved. Initial results from genome sequencing showed the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) in 13 of the samples from the positive tests. Sequencing has not been completed yet. It is possible that the new variant will be found in more test samples. 

The first cases involving the Omicron variant were reported in South Africa. Since then, this variant has been identified in various locations worldwide.

Travellers returning to the Netherlands from countries with Omicron risk: please get tested  

People who returned on Monday 22 November 2021 or after from countries where the Omicron variant is present are requested to get tested, even if they do not have any symptoms. This applies to people returning from the following countries: 
South Africa, Botswana, Malawi, Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. 


A special hotline has been opened where these people can make an appointment to get tested. That telephone number is 0800-5005


Important: people who recently travelled from one of the designated high-risk countries to the Netherlands should go into quarantine and stay home.

  • This applies even if you do not have any symptoms, and even if you have been vaccinated, or had previously tested positive for COVID-19.
  • You should not have any visitors. These precautions apply at least until the test results are known and you have received instructions from the Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs). 

Stop the spread, follow the measures 

Regardless of which coronavirus variant is involved, including the Omicron variant: follow the measures