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 Dutch authorities have reported 61 passengers aboard two KLM flights from South Africa tested for COVID-19 and the result were further examined for the new Omicron variant.

The positive passengers were now being quarantined in a hotel near Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, where 600 of them faced hours of delays due to concerns over the new virus variant on Friday.

"We now know that 61 of the results were positive and 531 negative," the Dutch Health Authority (GGD) said in a statement.

"The positive test results will be examined as soon as possible to determine whether this concerns the new worrisome variant, which has since been given the name Omicron variant."

The Dutch authorities banned all air travel from southern Africa early on Friday. health Minister de Jonge determined that passengers already en route to the Netherlands would have to undergo testing and quarantine upon arrival.

Passengers who tested negative, but remain in the Netherland are expected to isolate at home.

"We understand that people are frustrated by this, "the statement added," people have just made a long trip with the idea that they will shortly be home," it said.

"instead just after landing, they are confronted with a situation we have never before experienced in the Netherlands, namely that people have to be tested at Schiphol and are forced to wait until they get a result."

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