- Sputnik International, 1920
Omicron COVID Strain
The new COVID variant was initially detected in South Africa and Botswana and sparked major concerns due to its high number of mutations (32). The WHO dubbed the strain Omicron and warned it may prove to be more transmissible and dangerous than other coronavirus variants.

Dutch Prime Minister Says Started Booster Vaccination Campaign Too Late

© REUTERS / Eva PlevierA medical worker stores a swab in a vial at XL Schiphol test location, after Dutch health authorities said that 61 people who arrived in Amsterdam on flights from South Africa tested positive for COVID-19, in Amsterdam, Netherlands, November 27, 2021.
A medical worker stores a swab in a vial at XL Schiphol test location, after Dutch health authorities said that 61 people who arrived in Amsterdam on flights from South Africa tested positive for COVID-19, in Amsterdam, Netherlands, November 27, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 24.12.2021
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Friday the government has made mistakes in the COVID-19 strategy and should have started the booster vaccination campaign earlier.
Rutte admitted to the Dutch De Telegraaf newspaper that the first set of anti-COVID measures introduced in November was too lax, and the booster vaccination campaign started late.
"I made mistakes, in communication. In the beginning I placed too much emphasis on people’s own responsibility and too little on the mandatory measures," Rutte told the newspaper, as quoted by the DutchNews news outlet.
The prime minister added that the people were not convinced enough to strictly follow key rules amid the pandemic.
The Netherlands became one of the last European countries to start administering booster vaccine shots, and about 2 million out of over 17 million people have gotten the third vaccine dose in the kingdom so far.
On Sunday, Amsterdam declared an almost month-long lockdown to tackle the Omicron strain spread, and all bars, restaurants, cafes, cinemas, museums, theaters, gyms, and shops selling not-essential goods were closed. As many as 59% of all daily COVID-19 cases in the Dutch capital were reported to be caused by Omicron, as of Thursday.
Nearly two thirds of the Dutch population have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, so far.
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