According to Dutch health officials, Omicron had been in the Netherlands for five days before South Africa alerted World Health Organisation.

The RIVM Health Institute discovered the mutation in Covid from samples that date back to November 19, 23 and 23, respectively.

However, the WHO reported that the variant was first brought to UN’s attention by South Africa on November 24, 1994. 

A traveler from South Africa is tested for the Omicron variant upon arrival in a specially designed test lane at Schiphol airport in the Netherlands today

Today, a South African traveler is subject to the Omicron variant testing upon his arrival at Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands.

Although it is not clear when or where the variant was first discovered, wary countries have rushed to place travel restrictions on southern African visitors. 

South Africa has condemned these actions and the WHO has called against them.

There is much to know about this variant, but the WHO has warned of a’very high global risk’. Early evidence indicates that it may be even more contagious.

Further complicating the timeline for when this new version will actually emerge is Tuesday’s announcement from the Netherlands. 

The Dutch claimed they had found the variant before passengers from South Africa arrived on Friday. But these new cases go back to that.

The Botswana variant has around 50 mutations and more than 30 of them are on the spike protein. The current crop of vaccines trigger the body to recognise the version of the spike protein from older versions of the virus. But the mutations may make the spike protein look so different that the body's immune system struggles to recognise it and fight it off. And three of the spike mutations (H665Y, N679K, P681H) help it enter the body's cells more easily. Meanwhile, it is missing a membrane protein (NSP6) which was seen in earlier iterations of the virus, which experts think could make it more infectious. And it has two mutations (R203K and G204R) that have been present in all variants of concern so far and have been linked with infectiousness

Botswana’s variant contains around 50 mutations, and over 30 are spike proteins. The body recognizes the older version of the virus with the latest vaccines. However, the changes may change the appearance of the spike protein so that the body’s immune systems is unable to fight off the virus. Three of its spike mutations, H665Y and N679K (P681H), allow it to enter cells faster. Experts believe it could be more contagious because it lacks a membrane protein (NSP6), as was the case in previous iterations. It also has two mutations, R203K (or G204R), that were present in every variant of the virus and have been associated with infectiousness. 

According to news agency dpa, authorities in Leipzig in eastern Germany confirmed Tuesday that a man aged 39 had contracted the Omicron variant. He had never been overseas and had not had any contact with anybody who was, they said. 

Leipzig lies in the Eastern State of Saxony. It currently hosts Germany’s highest coronavirus infection rates.

On Tuesday, France and Japan announced the first instances of this new variant.

French officials confirmed the presence of the French territory Reunion, Indian Ocean. 

Patrick Mavingui (a microbiologist at an island research clinic for infectious illnesses) said the man who was tested positive for this new variant was a 53-year old man who had been to Mozambique before stopping in South Africa and returned to Reunion.

The man was taken into quarantine. According to Mavingui, he has “muscle pains and fatigue,” according public television Reunion 1ere.

Dr Angelique Coetzee, chair of the South African Medical Association and the first person to spot the new variant in a patient, said her patients infected with Omicron reported different and much milder symptoms, including tiredness, muscle aches, a sore head and a dry cough. But none reported the tell-tale symptoms of a loss of smell or taste or breathing difficulties

Angelique Coetzee (chair of South African Medical Association) said Omicron-infected patients had different symptoms than hers. She reported a milder, more relaxed condition that included tiredness and muscle aches. None of the symptoms, such as loss of taste or smell, or difficulty breathing were reported by any of these patients. 

Japan confirmed the first case of this variant in Japan, a Namibian visitor, a day after it had banned all foreigners as an emergency precaution. 

According to a government spokesperson, the patient was a 30-year-old man who arrived at Narita Airport on Sunday. He had positive results and was taken into isolation.

Also, travel bans continued to be in effect on Tuesday.

Cambodia refused entry to 10 African countries due to the possibility of a variant. 

This move was made just 2 weeks after Cambodia opened its borders for fully-vaccinated travellers.

Although it strongly opposed closing the borders, WHO stressed that scientists continue to search for evidence and countries need to speed up vaccinations.

WHO acknowledged that the variant of the omicron gene has many unknowns. It said that preliminary evidence suggests that there are mutations in the variant that can help it transmit from person to person and evade the immune system.

South African doctors report only minor symptoms, despite global concern. 

However, they caution that this is still early. Most of the cases in new patients are younger people. They generally don’t get as sick as those who have been treated with Covid-19 for a long time.