Three people in the Netherlands have so far been tested for the coronavirus but all three were false alarms, the health ministry has confirmed.
Doctors are required by law to alert the authorities if they suspect someone may have the disease and to send throat swabs to the public health institute RIVM for emergency testing. All three people tested had recently been in the Chinese province of Hubei, where the epicentre Wuhan is situated.
Dutch hospitals are currently carrying out an inventory of how many beds they have in isolation units if there should be an outbreak in the Netherlands. So far 200 have been added to the list but the final total will be far higher, broadcaster RTL Nieuws said.
Meanwhile, the EU has organised two flights to bring back European nationals stranded in Wuhan where the outbreak started. The first flight will return with some 250 French nationals, the second with other Europeans. Some 20 Dutch nationals are registered with the embassy in Beijing.
The foreign ministry has updated its travel advice for China, urging people to avoid the Wuhan area and to follow the ‘very strict’ instructions with the authorities have issued to prevent the spread of the disease.
While the disease has not yet been found in the Netherlands, there have been cases in France. In Bavaria, Germany four people are thought to have been infected after coming into contact with a visiting Chinese worker.
At least 132 people have died in China and nearly 6,000 others have been infected with the dangerous strain of the virus.
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