One Amsterdam BLM protester tests positive for coronavirus
One person who participated in a crowded Black Lives Matter protest on Dam Square in Amsterdam on June 1 tested positive for the coronavirus, the municipality of Amsterdam said on Thursday. Whether the person in question contracted the virus at the protest is unclear.
The protester in question did not have any symptoms at the time of the protest, so health service GGD considers it unlikely that they infected anyone else at the demonstration, alderman Simone Kukenheim informed the city council. They first had symptoms about a week after the protest.
The GGD Amsterdam also confirmed this to NL Times. "The call remains that if you have mild symptoms you have to get yourself tested, but you don't have to be tested because you were present [at the demonstration], only if you have symptoms," a spokesperson said.
No other demonstrators tested positive for Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, also not at other GGDs in the rest of the country. According to RTL Nieuws, this patient was tracked down through the source and contact tracing of another patient.
Earlier this week, GGD Amsterdam told newspaper AD that two demonstrators were tested for the coronavirus after they started showing symptoms. One tested negative for Covid-19, the other's results weren't yet in. Presumably, this Covid-19 patient was the second person to be tested.
At least 5 thousand people showed up on Dam Square on June 1, with some estimates suggesting as many as 14 thousand were at the site to protest against racism and police brutality - multitudes more than the organizers of the event or the authorities in Amsterdam had expected. The square became so crowded that maintaining social distancing became impossible.
Some experts feared that the protest would be a "super spreading event" for the coronavirus, but others said that the outside location and fact that most demonstrators wore masks limited the risk of the virus spreading.
Mayor Femke Halsema of Amsterdam faced fierce criticism for not halting the protest when social distancing became impossible. She decided against doing so, as she feared that sending armed police into a major protest against racism and police brutality would only escalate matters. She easily survived a motion of no confidence filed against her.