According to a model run by the RIVM, the coronavirus might have travelled and spread through the Netherlands earlier than the first confirmed case.
February 27 was the date when the first official coronavirus case was reported. However, the coronavirus might have been in the Netherlands since February 15, reports AD.
Business as usual in February
Back in February, the coronavirus did not inspire the same amount of urgency and concern as it does now. Testing procedures were limited and so was the level of alertness.
A woman from Brabant ended up in intensive care on February 21, with a coronavirus test being conducted on her much later (she tested positive). The woman had medical complaints for weeks leading up to her arrival in an ICU.
Similarly, a poll among hospital staff in Brabant showed that seven out of 86 infected employees had complaints since mid-February.
In mid-February, things were normal in Netherlands. Thousands of people flocked to football stadiums and to music festivals, unaware that there were several cases of coronavirus already throughout the country. This was a full two weeks before Minister Bruins announced the first case.
How did the virus spread to the Netherlands?
From what is known so far, the coronavirus spread from other highly infected regions, such as from Lombardy in Italy.
This was caused by many Dutch people travelling there for winter sports. As no travel restrictions or medical check-ups on arrival were in place, people carrying the virus escaped attention when they arrived from Italy to the Netherlands. This is confirmed by professor virology Marion Koopmans from Erasmus MC, who has said that “winter sports were a super spreader”.
Another area from which the virus spread is from Austria, again due to winter sports. In the city of Ischgl, which has a ski-resort, quite a large number of Dutch people got infected and then spread the virus when returning back home in the Netherlands.
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Feature Image: Fusion Medical Animation/Unsplash