First coronavirus fatality in Netherlands: Rotterdam patient dead at 86

Ikazia hospital in Rotterdam
Ikazia hospital in RotterdamPhoto: Emvee / Wikimedia Commons

An 86-year-old man admitted to the Ikazia Hospital in Rotterdam with a Covid-19 infection died on Friday, public health institute RIVM announced. He is the first patient in the Netherlands to die as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

The source of the 86-year-old man's infection is not clear, the RIVM said. He was cared for in quarantine at the hospital after his Covid-19 tests came back positive. The hospital and municipal health service GGD mapped out everyone who had been in contact with the man.

Those who have a cold or fever were asked to quarantine themselves at home. They will be tested if necessary, RIVM said. 

"Symptoms of the disease are fever and respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath or cough. A person with fever and respiratory complaints and who has been in an area where Covid-19 is widespread in the last 14 days can be tested for Covid-19," the RIVM stated. Symptomatic patients who have been in contact with a Covid-19 patient will also be tested.

As of yesterday afternoong, the RIVM had tested about 3,000 people in the Netherlands for the virus, a spokesperson confirmed to NL Times. According to official figures, the provinces facing the most cases are Noord-Brabant, Utrecht, and Zuid-Holland.

The national government launched a helpline that Netherlands residents can call with questions about the coronavirus. The number is 0800-1351.

Concern over school infections after students test positive

A primary school in Haarlem and a secondary school in Amersfoort both had their first cases of a Covid-19 infection. In both cases, pupils went to school after holidaying in northern Italy, NOS reports.

The pupil of the Eerste Christelijk Lyceum in Haarlem went to school even though they already showed symptoms. The pupil was at school several days last week. When they also came down with a fever, the pupil alerted adults to the situation, the Kennemerland department of the GGD said to NOS. The GGD informed the school of the situation on Thursday evening. The pupil and their family are in home quarantine. 

The school remains open and is giving lessons as usual, but with an added GGD information point.

In Amersfoort, a pupil of high school Nieuwe Eemland went to school on Monday morning without symptoms, but he started coughing during the first lesson. As he visited northern Italy, he was sent home immediately and was tested for Covid-19. The tests came back positive. He too is in home quarantine with his family.

Nieuwe Eemland is also staying open for the time being.

Netherlands joining European leaders to create containment strategy

On Thursday, the number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in the Netherlands jumped from 38 to 82. Of the patients, 69 contracted the virus abroad or had contact with someone who did. For the rest, the source of infection is unclear.

According to Minister Bruno Bruins for Medical Care, the jump in infections is a "catch-up" because people are more aware of the virus and therefore more willing to go to a doctor with flu-like symptoms they would otherwise have treated at home. He called it a "sharp rise", but one the health authorities took into account would happen. 

Bruins is currently in Brussels, meeting with European Health Ministers to discuss measures that have been taken and still need to be taken on both a national- and EU level. 

A study by NOS and KRO-NCRV found that most items about the coronavirus in the Netherlands are reliable, but there are some fake stories in circulation. These involve, for example, reports on how deadly the virus is and unconfirmed numbers of infections. According to the researchers, the misleading news articles often make connections between the coronavirus and immigration, Islam and conspiracy theories. 

Fifteen Dutch tourists who were quarantined in a hotel on Tenerife since last week Tuesday, are back in the Netherlands. They were flown to an airport in Belgium, and then arrived at Schiphol Airport by bus on Friday morning, according to RTL Nieuws.