The municipality of Lansingerland in Zuid-Holland plans to test around 60,000 people for coronavirus following an outbreak of the British strain of the disease last month.
At least 30 out of 75 infections traced to a primary school in Bergschenhoek last week were identified as being caused by the more virulent mutation that was first detected in the UK in September.
The muncipality, which comprises Bergschenhoek, Berkel, Rodenrijs and Bleiswijk, will send out invitations to all residents over the age of 2 from this Wednesday asking them to make an appointment for a coronavirus test.
Around 24,000 households will receive the mailshots for what is the first blanket testing exercise of its kind in the Netherlands. Mayor Pieter van de Stadt said: ‘This approach is valuable for the whole country, but especially for residents of Lansingerland in ensuring that the virus cannot spread further.’
The local health service says it can carry out up to 5,000 tests per day using sports halls, mobile units and a postcode-based relay system to prevent too many people attending the test centres at once.
Between 1% and 5% of all coronavirus infections in the Netherlands are currently believed to be caused by the British strain, which is estimated to be around 70% more infectious. Virologists warn that it is likely to lead to a spike in cases around the end of February if it gains the upper hand in the Netherlands.
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