Australia and several other countries joined nations imposing restrictions on travel from southern Africa on Saturday after the discovery of the new Omicron coronavirus variant sparked global concern and triggered a market sell-off, APA reports citing Reuters.
Meanwhile, authorities in Amsterdam said that 61 out of around 600 people who arrived in the Dutch city on two flights from South Africa on Friday had tested positive for coronavirus. Health authorities were carrying out further tests to see if those cases involved the new variant
Omicron, dubbed a "variant of concern" by the World Health Organization, is potentially more contagious than previous variants of the disease.
It was first discovered in South Africa and has since been detected in Belgium, Botswana, Israel and Hong Kong.
A minister in the German state of Hesse said on Saturday that the variant had very probably arrived in Germany, in a traveller returning from South Africa. Czech health authorities said they were examining a suspected case of the variant in a person who spent time in Namibia.
Financial markets plunged on Friday, especially stocks of airlines and others in the travel sector, as investors worried the variant could cause another surge in the pandemic and stall a global recovery. Oil prices tumbled by about $10 a barrel.