New positive coronavirus test hits Amsterdam region; 2nd case in Netherlands

A resident of the Amsterdam region tested positive for coronavirus Covid-19 on Friday morning, public health institute RIVM announced. She is currently in quarantine at a home in Diemen, which neighbors the capital.

According to the RIVM, this patient has no connection with the Noord-Brabant man diagnosed on Thursday. Like him, she also visited the Lombardy region of Italy, where hundreds of people have tested positive for the Covid-19 viral strain over the past week. 

The Amsterdam office of health service GGD is currently mapping out exactly who this patient has had close contact with recently. "These people (referred to as contacts) will be monitored and must record their temperature twice a day and report this to the GGD. They must also report other symptoms that they have."

Now that the virus has reached the country, some stores in the Netherlands are worried about running out of hygiene products like soap and hand gel. Picnic is setting a limit on how much soap, disinfectant gel, and tissues a customer can buy, according to RTL Z. Other supermarkets have not yet limited these products, but are running out of medical masks, the broadcaster wrote.

The coronavirus is also playing havoc with stock markets around the world, including at the AEX Index at Euronext Amsterdam. On Friday, the AEX index opened 3.9 percent lower, and fell further in the first 90 minutes of trading. It had started to rebound when the second case was announced by the RIVM. The AEX Index was down just over 4 percent at 11:15 a.m. If that holds, it will mark the seventh consecutive day of losses on the Index, which has fallen some 13 percent over the past week and a half.

One other Dutch person has been diagnosed with the virus. The 56-year-old man from Loon op Zand is currently being treated in quarantine at the Elisabeth-TweeSteden hospital in Tilburg. It is believed he contracted the virus while visiting Italy. The man is in good spirits and "not afraid of a little flu", a family member said to Hart van Nederland.

The hospital is operating as usual and workers, patients and visitors aren't too worried. "He is in quarantine and I assume that those who are busy with this are doing their job well," a patient at at the Tilburg hospital said to NOS.

In Loon op Zand, the only doctor's practice in the Noord-Brabant village has their hands full with nervous locals calling with questions. The practice calls on people with questions to refer to or the RIVM's information page on Covid-19. "If you have a fever (higher than 38 degrees) and a cough or shortness of breath and you have been in a risk area or have been in contact with a proven infected person, please make TELEPHONIC contact with us," the practice writes. "We urge people with symptoms not to visit the practice."

Locals told a NOS reporter that they aren't too worried. "I'm not really afraid of it, I assume that little will happen. If that man does indeed come from Loon op Zand, should I stay home? There must be bread on the table, so I'll just go to the store," a bodega owner said.

"I hope that the panic for the virus does not get too big. Because it is in principle just as dangerous as a flu virus," said one woman.

"It is a bit stressful actually, but I am not afraid. But if you just use your head, and take precautions, such as washing your hands and buying disinfectant gel. I also don't get too close to customers," a local baker said.