Four more people infected with UK coronavirus variant at Rotterdam-area school
Research from the Erasmus MC and the GGD-Rotterdam-Rijnmond has determined that at least nine students and teachers at the Willibrordschool in Bergschenhoek have been infected with the B117 mutation of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. The variant was first found in the United Kingdom and is over 55 percent more contagious than the strain more common to the Netherlands.
Previously, authorities said they knew of five infections of the B117 strain at the primary school where a 38-year-old teacher with Covid-19 died earlier this month. It has not yet been determined which variant of the virus was responsible for her death.
Over 40 people connected to the school have tested positive for a coronavirus infection since the end of November, including students, parents and staff. The school community was asked this week to make a special appointment to get tested for the B117 strain if they are symptomatic. That could lead to a further increase.
The regional branch of the GGD has not been able to establish a direct relationship between any of the infected people and the United Kingdom. The organization is now taking samples to see if more people in Bergschenhoek and its parent municipality of Lansingerland also have the UK coronavirus mutation. The samples will only be kept for about a week.
Five cases have also been reported in Amsterdam and one in Nijmegen. The Amsterdam cases were not believed to be a cluster, with no known link between the infected people.
The Cabinet is asking the Outbreak Management Team for advice on how to go about testing children in primary schools. Schools are scheduled to start with distance learning on January 4 before opening again on January 18, although some medical experts have warned that the date is too soon. They are worried that reopening schools in mid-January will lead to another spike in infections.