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Omicron was in Netherlands before South Africa discovery announcement

The Omicron variant was already in the Netherlands when South Africa alerted the World Health Organization about it last week, Dutch health authorities said Tuesday, adding to fear and confusion over the new version of the coronavirus in a weary world hoping it had left the worst of the pandemic behind.

The capital's shopping streets are near-empty after 5 pm in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Monday, Nov. 29, 2021, after a tougher COVID-19 related lockdown came into effect starting Sunday. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

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This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, orange, emerging from the surface of cells, green, cultured in the lab. (NIAID-RML via AP)

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