Coronavirus: Noord-Brabant cities cancel all major events; 4% hospital workers may be infected

Primary school classroom
Primary school classroom Photo: DGLimages/DepositPhotos

As the spread of coronavirus worsened throughout the province of Noord-Brabant, the major cities in the province agreed to suspend all events where thousands of visitors were expected to attend. The move includes all upcoming professional football matches, the mayors of Den Bosch, Eindhoven and Tilburg said at a press conference on Tuesday.

Tilburg Mayor Theo Weterings emphatically said that people should refrain from social interactions for the next week to help contain the virus. "Seven days of social abstention must be possible," Weterings said.

This is why many concerts, dance parties, and parades, said Eindhoven Mayor John Jorritsma. He also said event organizers should think twice about continuing with plans if a thousand attendees were likely. "Be very careful with such events, or cancel them outright," he said. "It's in the context of common sense."

Many football matches scheduled to take place this week or upcoming weekend raised concern as it would mean either fans would have to travel to Noord-Brabant from provinces less affected by the virus, or the Noord-Brabant clubs would be bringing their fans elsewhere. The Eredivisie matches that will not take place as scheduled include Willem II vs. sc Heerenveen, PSV Eindhoven vs. FC Emmen, and RKC Waalwijk vs. FC Groningen. They will be postponed along with Eerste Divisie matches TOP Oss vs. FC Den Bosch and Jong PSV vs. Go Ahead Eagles, the KNVB said.

Current data from health agency RIVM showed that 157 residents of the province are infected with the virus, out of 382 in the Netherlands. The provincial tally includes 29 people living in Tilburg, 8 in Eindhoven, and 4 in Den Bosch.

      More specific data about coronavirus patients in Dutch municipalities and provinces follows this report.

The KNVB confirmed it will meet on Wednesday with league management about the situation. "Among other things, the consequences of this cancellation and the possible scenarios for when further measures follow will be discussed. It will also be decided tomorrow what consequences these measures will have for amateur football," KNVB said.

Around 4 percent of Noord-Brabant hospital workers may be infected

The Elisabeth-TweeSteden Ziekenhuis is a hospital in Tilburg, where a statistical sample suggested as many as 28 people working there may have the coronavirus. The hospital performed the sample analysis of 301 workers, and it was not immediately clear how many of them actually tested positive for the virus.

The RIVM said it would reveal more information about the sample later, acknowledging that the results suggested four percent of people working at the hospitals in Noord-Brabant would test positive for coronavirus. A sample of staff was tested at five hospitals in Noord-Brabant, including on people who were asymptomatic, according to broadcaster NOS.

Workers at either branch of the Elisabeth-TweeSteeden will be tested for coronavirus even if they have mild symptoms, and will be ordered into home quarantine as the situation dictates, the hospital told NOS.

The figures, though somewhat fluid as patient hometowns are revised, show that no province is nearly as hard-hit as Noord-Brabant. Nine of the 20 Dutch municipalities most affected by the virus are located in Noord-Brabant.

Many students home from school

Meanwhile, a quarter of schools in the Netherlands noticed that pupils are staying home because of the coronavirus Covid-19, according to a survey among 1,100 schools by the general association of school leaders AVS. 26 percent of school leaders said that parents are keeping their kids at home for fear of a Covid-19 infection, reports.

AVS does not have province-specific numbers, but does know that the figures are high in Noord-Brabant, a spokesperson said to Noord-Brabant is the Dutch province with the most Covid-19 infections. Public health institute RIVM therefore advised people in the province to stay home if they have even mild cold-like symptoms. The province also called on residents to work from home as much as possible.

According to the AVS spokesperson, some parents are keeping their kids home unnecessarily. As an example, he told about one child not being allowed to go to school because their parents are afraid they will be infected by a classmate who visited northern Italy. "The schools follow the guidelines of the authorities," the spokesperson said. "It states that children can go to school if they have no symptoms. But there are parents who say: if those children do not stay home, I will keep my own child at home."

If a school is open, the Compulsory Education Act applies, the AVS stressed. Only pupils who are in quarantine, and children in Noord-Brabant who have a cold, cough, or fever are exempt.

Coronavirus in the Netherlands by Province

   1.   Noord-Brabant: 157
   2.   Utrecht: 55
   3.   Zuid-Holland: 47
   4.   Limburg: 32
   5.   Noord-Holland: 30
   6.   Gelderland: 30
   7.   Drenthe: 12
   8.   Overijssel: 10
   9.   Zeeland: 3
10.   Flevoland: 2
 11.   Friesland: 2
 12.   Groningen: 0

Municipalities with the Most Coronavirus Patients

   1.   Tilburg, Noord-Brabant: 29
   2.   Breda, Noord-Brabant: 27
   3.   Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland: 15
   4.   Utrecht, Utrecht: 14
 t-5.   Sittard-Geleen, Limburg: 13
         Uden, Noord-Brabant: 13
         Houten, Utrecht: 13
 t-8.   Coevorden, Drenthe: 11
         Helmond, Noord-Brabant: 11
         Meierijstad, Noord-Brabant: 11
 t-11. Eindhoven, Noord-Brabant: 8
         Amsterdam, Noord-Holland: 8
         Soest, Utrecht: 8
 t-14. Maastricht, Limburg: 7
         Loon op Zand, Noord-Brabant: 7
 t-16. De Bilt, Utrecht: 6
 t-17. Renkum, Gelderland: 5
         Beekdaelen, Limburg: 5
         Sint-Michielsgestel, Noord-Brabant: 5
         Waalwijk, Noord-Brabant: 5
         Stichtse Vecht, Utrecht: 5
         Hardinxveld-Giessendam, Zuid-Holland: 5