Dutch person quarantined along with hundreds others at German border

The German health authorities are looking for the around 300 people who attended a carnival party in Langbroich, just across the border with the Netherlands, earlier this month. At least three, possibly four people who attended this event have been diagnosed with coronavirus Covid-19. 

Local media report that 180 of the 300 visitors to the event registered with the health authorities by noon on Thursday. One of them is a Dutch person, according to municipal health service GGD Zuid Limburg. The Limburg resident is believed to have been in contact with a corona-infected person at the Carnaval event. 

The Carnaval event happened on February 15th. The German health authorities call on everyone who attended it to make contact with them by telephone and to not leave their home. “They must remain in quarantine at home for 14 days, as well as, if applicable, their partners, children and other roommates," said the Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs in Nordrhein-Westfalen, the large western German state which shares a border with the Dutch provinces of Overijssel, Gelderland, Limburg, and parts of Belgium.

According to the Ministry, the three confirmed coronavirus cases were in contact with "the married couple from the Gangelt community", previously diagnosed with the virus. “The community of Gangelt is currently emerging as the focus of Covid-19 infections in the Heinsberg district.” People in this district were advised to "avoid events and group gatherings of any kind. This also applies in particular to sporting events."

According to NOS, one of the people infected teaches at a kindergarten in nearby Breberen. All 65 children at the school and their families are now also in quarantine, one of the Dutch parents said to the broadcaster. They have to measure their temperatures twice a day and pass it on to the health service. According to parent, their quarantine will last until March 9th. 

So far there has been no Covid-19 diagnoses in the Netherlands. But according to Alex Friedrich, a professor and microbiologist at the University Medical Center Groningen, it's just a matter of time. "We have come to the moment when we have to act. I suspect that there are already people in the Netherlands with the coronavirus. We just haven't found them yet," he said to RTV Noord.

"In Italy and other European countries, they have now switched policy. Since the detection of infections, they have started actively tracking people down. They are really pulling out all the stops. If we were to do that here, we would also find the virus," Friedrich said. "If all the countries around you have infections, you can hardly prevent it."