“Dominant” UK coronavirus mutation days away from showing up across Netherlands
The leading virologist at Dutch public health agency RIVM said that a highly contagious mutation of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus will begin showing up in several regions around the Netherlands over the next few days. Chantal Reusken told broadcaster NOS that there were several indications the hypothesis was accurate, even though thus far the variant has only been found twice in the country.
“Evidence is piling up that this variant infects people more easily. It is expected that, just like in the United Kingdom, this variant will eventually become the dominant strain in the Netherlands,” Reusken said. The mutation is believed to be about 70 percent more contagious than the coronavirus was.
Both of those cases were discovered in the Amsterdam region. One was found early in December, and the other eight days later. Thus far, no evidence has been found to link the two people to each other, nor to directly link them to the United Kingdom, municipal health service GGD told the broadcaster.
Because of this, Reusken speculated that the coronavirus variant is more prevalent in the Netherlands than is currently known, but not yet widespread.
"If this variant is widely circulated in the Netherlands, it will take longer for to get the epidemic under control. Then you will have to take the same [lockdown] measures that we are already taking, only more people will have to stick to it to reduce the number of infections,” said Leiden University Medical Center epidemiologist Frits Rosendaal.
The Netherlands has been under a stricter lockdown calling for people to remain home as much as possible. The five-week lockdown first started on December 15. “What else can we do in the Netherlands? We only have a curfew left.”
“Amsterdam is a busy region. It is a bad sign that this is appearing there," Reusken said