Two cases of the new variant of coronavirus which was discovered earlier in the UK have now been confirmed in the Netherlands, and both patients are in Amsterdam, local broadcaster AT5 reported on Tuesday.
One of the people identified has having the new variety of the virus has not been in Britain for some time, the broadcaster said. No details have been released about the second and investigators are now trying to trace where they picked up the disease.
Nevertheless, health minister Hugo de Jonge has said he does not expect the virus to be widespread in the Netherlands. ‘The situation in the Netherlands is not similar to that in the UK,’ he is quoted as saying by news website Nu.nl.
Meanwhile, Brussels has urged EU countries, including the Netherlands, to lift restrictions on passenger travel from Britain, according to the BBC.
EU member states are free to set their border rules, but EU ambassadors are meeting to try to bring order the situation after the Netherlands banned passenger flights from the UK on Sunday and dozens of other countries followed suit.
The European Commission said on Tuesday afternoon that EU countries should allow people to travel to their place of residence, providing they take a coronavirus test or go into isolation on their arrival. But non-essential travel should continue to be discouraged, the commission said.
The commission also said lorry drivers should be exempt from all travel restrictions and mandatory testing.