The Netherlands has its first case of coronavirus – a man from Tilburg who had recently spent time in Lombardy in Italy – health minister Bruno Bruins has confirmed.
The man, said to be around the age of 50, has been placed in quarantine at the Elisabeth TweeSteden Ziekenhuis in Tilburg and health officials have begun trying to trace his contacts, officials said.
‘The person had symptoms and was hospitalised and tested,’ the public health institute RIVM said. All identified contacts will be monitored to halt the spread of the disease.
This involves taking their temperature twice a day and reporting it to the local health board. They must also report any other symptoms. ‘These measures will help reduce the risk of the disease spreading in the Netherlands, the RIVM said.
Officials are also trying to find out if the man had celebrated Carnaval, which is popular in the south of the country.
Earlier on Thursday it emerged that three more cases of coronavirus had been reported in Germany just over the Dutch border at Sittard. They may have caught the disease from another German Carnaval goer who had been in Italy.
Dozens of Dutch nationals are also in quarantine in Italy and in Tenerife where they had been holidaying during the winter half-term.
And according to the Volkskrant, a Yemeni asylum seeker was held at Schiphol’s detention centre for several days because he had most recently been in one of the worst affected areas in China, where the disease originated.
People who are worried about their own or other people’s health are being urged to check out the website of the public health institute RIVM which has information in Dutch and in English.
The World Health Organisations says common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
The WHO’s standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering the mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing and thoroughly cooking meat and eggs.
People should also avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing, the world health agency said.
Virology professor Eric Snijder told RTL Nieuws on Thursday that healthy people have nothing to fear from the disease.
Some 80% of victims develop mild symptoms and only a small proportion of the total number of people who are infected will die. They are likely to be elderly or already be suffering from health problems.
‘If I compare it with a real killer virus like ebola, then the chance of survival is very small, he said. ‘But the coronavirus is the opposite.’
More to follow
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