No cause for panic, says virologist about coronavirus positive test

Even though coronavirus strain Covid-19 has reached the Netherlands, with the country now facing two positive test results, there is still no reason to panic, virology professor Eric Snijder said. The virus had developed a dangerous image, but in reality, it is not that bad, Snijder told RTL Nieuws. 

"I sometimes compare it to a real 'killer virus' like Ebola. The chance that you survive that is relatively small. With the coronavirus, the reverse is going on," Snijder said. About 80 percent of Covid-19 patients develop only mild symptoms. The other 20 percent become more seriously ill, and a much smaller proportion are fatal cases, he said. 

Those patients who are most at risk are mainly elderly people and people with weakened immune systems. Healthy people on average do not have much to fear, he said. "Whether it will turn out to be 0.1 percent, 1 percent, or 1.2 percent, the mortality rate is not so bad," Snijder said to the broadcaster. "In terms of size, the new coronavirus can best be compared to the common flu."

The Netherlands is also very well prepared to deal with this virus, according to RIVM chief executive Aura Timen, also the head of the national coordinator for infectious disease control LCI, reports. There are sufficient quarantine rooms available, and the Netherlands has sufficient experience with such challenges. Protocols and scripts were adjusted and optimized around New Year's. Doctors, laboratories, the GGD, and RIVM are also working closely together. 

The situation is so under control that the Tilburg hospital treating the first Covid-19 patient diagnosed in the Netherlands is open and operating as usual. No restrictions were set for other patients or visitors.