Netherlands could extract all Dutch people from Wuhan over coronavirus

People wearing masks in Beijing, China
People wearing masks in Beijing, ChinaImaginechina-EditorialDepositPhotos

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is currently investigating the possibility of evacuating 20 Dutch people from the Chinese city of Wuhan due to the outbreak of the new coronavirus, a spokesperson for the Ministry confirmed to news wire ANP. The Netherlands residents in the city were informed by the embassy in Beijing on Monday morning. 

The Ministry is consulting with other European Union member states and the Chinese authorities about getting the Dutch people out of China. The evacuation plans apply to the entire province of Hubei, but all the Dutch nationals registered with the embassy are located in Wuhan itself.

Wuhan is the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. By Monday, 81 people died of the virus and over 2,700 people had been diagnosed with it.

According to public health institute RIVM, there is a realistic chance that the virus could appear in the Netherlands. "Just like in other countries, someone from China can come to the Netherlands and get sick here," the institute said, but added that the chance of the virus quickly spreading in the Netherlands is small. "That is because it seems that the virus is not very contagious. Furthermore, most of the sick are in Wuhan in China. The vast majority of patients have been to the Chinese city of Wuhan and likely got infected there."

Experts are meeting with the RIVM and the Ministry of Public Health this week to discuss whether and what measures need to be taken in the Netherlands.