The number of confirmed coronavirus infections in the Netherlands has risen by 60 to 188, the public health institute RIVM said on Saturday.
Hospital staff from Rotterdam and Amersfoort are among the new cases and all three are known to have picked up coronavirus outside work.
Almost half the new infections are in the province of Noord-Brabant, where people who develop a cough and a temperature are being asked to avoid social contacts as a precaution.
In total, 112 of the 188 Dutch patients picked up the disease abroad, most of them in northern Italy. Officials also know the source of 47 other infections but 29 – mostly in Noord-Brabant – remain a mystery.
On Friday the RIVM requested people living in the southern province to limit their social contacts if they have a cold, cough or a temperature, while officials try to determine where locals are being infected with coronavirus.
Officials are carrying out extra tests in the province, which counts Tilburg, Eindhoven, Den Bosch and Breda among its other major population centres, in an effort to find out how widespread the virus is and, potentially, the local source.
‘If you have health complaints and have to leave your house, try to keep as far away from others as possible,’ the RIVM said. ‘This will reduce the chance of you spreading the virus without noticing.’
People whose complaints worsen should alert their doctor, the RIVM said.
When to take action
People outside the province are advised to stay home if they have a fever and coughing or shortness of breath and were in one of the following countries or regions in the past 14 days:
- China (including Hong Kong and Macao)
- South Korea
- Italy: the northern provinces of Aosta Valley, Piedmont, Lombardy, Trentino South Tyrol, Friuli-Julian-Venice, Veneto, Emilia-Romagna and Liguria.
‘If you were in one of these areas and have symptoms of the common cold or a slightly elevated temperature, stay home and make sure you have as little contact with others as possible.’
People should only contact their GP if their symptoms worsen, the RIVM said.
Prime minister Mark Rutte said at his weekly news conference on Friday that combating coronavirus is a a ‘joint, national task’. And he stressed the importance of following the RIVM’s recommendations on hygiene, such as regularly washing your hands.
‘The Netherlands is not a country to panic, we are a down-to-earth nation,’ Rutte said. ‘You can see this in how we are dealing with the virus.’
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