THE NETHERLANDS. As the death toll from coronavirus in the Netherlands hits three and the number of confirmed cases was put at 264, Dutch health officials say there is as yet no reason to take further precautions or increase the rate of testing.
Most of the Dutch cases so far are connected to people who holidayed in northern Italy or elsewhere and the source of 47 cases is still being traced, officials said on Sunday. Last week, people from Noord-Brabant, where most cases with no clear source of infection are located, were urged to stay home if they have a cold, cough or a fever.
Official advice from the Dutch health board states that people who have possible symptoms should self isolate and only contact their doctor if their condition worsens. ‘Of all the tests done via doctors up to now, just one has resulted in someone not from an at risk area being diagnosed and that was in Eindhoven,’ Sjaak de Gouw, director of public health at the national health board GGD, told television programme Nieuwsuur on Sunday evening.
Ernst Kuipers, chairman of the Erasmus teaching hospital in Rotterdam, told the programme that people with slight complaints should simply stay at home. ‘Testing too many will overburden the system,’ he said. ‘The focus is on testing patients whose complaints are serious enough to be hospitalised and on testing healthcare workers to know if they are able to work,’ he said.
The British School of Amsterdam has closed its three locations on Monday and possibly Tuesday at least because one parent has been confirmed with coronavirus. The closure will allow the school buildings to be thoroughly cleaned as a precaution, the school said. The parent developed the disease after spending time in northern Italy and has not been at the school since the developing symptoms. The closure is an ‘extra precaution’ to ensure absolutely no risks are being taken, the school authorities said.
Dozens of teachers in Noord-Brabant have also stayed home on Monday, local education officials have told local broadcaster Omroep Brabant. Airlines Airline KLM has said it is halting flights to Milan and Venice, following the official negative travel advice for the region. The Dutch foreign ministry on Sunday recommended against all travel to some parts of the north. A number of airlines, including Lufthansa, Swiss, Alitalia and El Al have also cancelled flights to Schiphol because of reduced demand for tickets. Last week British regional airline Flybe, which offered flights from the Netherlands to the UK, went bust.
Meanwhile, Dutch media report that king Willem-Alexander and queen Maxima will shake as few hands as possible during their state visit to Indonesia which starts on Monday. The royal couple will meet members of the Dutch community in Jakarta on Tuesday evening but handshakes have been ruled out, the Telegraaf reported.
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