Coronavirus cases jump to 614 in Netherlands

Another 111 people in the Netherlands were diagnosed with coronavirus Covid-19, public health institute RIVM announced on Thursday. This brings the total diagnoses to 614, up from Wednesday's 503. 

Noord-Brabant is still the most affected province in the Netherlands, with 273 of the Covid-19 patients living in the province. Utrecht is second most affected with 80 patients, followed by 68 patients in Zuid-Holland, 53 in Limburg, and 48 in Gelderland. 

Of the total patients, 86 were or have been hospitalized. The rest were quarantined at home. 239 of the total patients contracted the virus abroad, most in Italy. 193 of Dutch patients had visited in Italy, 26 had visited Austria, and seven were in Germany. The source of infection is unknown for 123 patients, 23 more than on Wednesday. 102 of the patients are healthcare workers. 

The Rotterdam-Rijnmond department of health service GGD announced six new Covid-19 diagnoses earlier on Thursday, bringing the total coronavirus patients in that region up to 30. The new patients live in the municipalities of Rotterdam, Hellevoetsluis, and Krimpen aan den Ijssel. 

At the end of their state visit to Indonesia on Thursday, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima commented on the coronavirus in the Netherlands. "It is strange that you are so far away," the Dutch Queen said. "Your children are in the Netherlands, your friends. And you see everyone getting nervous. We follow the RIVM guidelines: we did not shake hands during the entire state visit and wash our hands often. And don't touch our faces."

"So we stick to the rules of the RIVM," the King added. "Those are the specialists. And they too are now confronted with something they have never been confronted with. We know that doctors and nurses in the Netherlands are already working very hard to prepare. They will be the front line in the coming months against this horrible virus. So we support them."​

As the virus continues to spread in the Netherlands, more and more events are being canceled. After first saying that the Rotterdam Marathon will continue as planned on April 5th, the organizers announced that the event is canceled after all. The marathon will be rescheduled for later in the year. "The organization does not consider it responsible in view of the latest developments and the current situation to have the event take place. The safety and health of the runners, volunteers, spectators and other involved parties is always paramount for the organization," the organizers said to NOS. 

The World Press Freedom Conference scheduled to be held at the World Forum in The Hague from April 22 to 24, was postponed to October 18. “World Press Freedom Conference 2020 is postponed because speakers and visitors either no longer want to travel due to the coronavirus, are not allowed to travel, or are unable to travel,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement. “In order to avoid unnecessary costs for the organization, speakers and visitors, it has been decided to take the decision to postpone now.”

The Ministry of Defense decided to cancel Frisian Flag, a large military air force exercise scheduled for the airbase in Leeuwarden from March 23 to April 4, Omrop Fryslan reported. During this exercise, some 50 aircraft was supposed to carry out complex training missions. 

All 25 Dutch tourists who were quarantined in Vietnam on Wednesday, after they shared a flight with someone showing Covid-19 symptoms, tested negative for the virus, a spokesperson for travel agency Kras said to NOS. "We are exerting maximum pressure there so that the Vietnamese authorities let them go and we can put these travelers on flights to the Netherlands," the spokesperson said. The tourists were quarantined in a guesthouse. "We find that accommodation far below par for our travelers."