Warning of real risk of coronavirus outbreak in Netherlands, hundreds of Germans at Dutch border quarantined

COVID-19 is sweeping across Europe with people diagnosed with the lung-infection in 18 of 51 European countries. Meanwhile, hundreds of people are quarantined in Germany, just ten kilometres across the border from the Dutch city of Sittard in the Limburg province. 

Denmark and Estonia have joined the list of infected countries today, according to RTL Nieuws. The first Dane to be infected is a man who returned from a skiing holiday in northern Italy, Danish authorities report. Meanwhile, around 400 people in Italy have been diagnosed so far, making it the worst-affected EU country.

Meanwhile, Estonia’s first patient is an Estonian resident of Iranian descent. The man had recently returned from Iran, reports Russian news agency TASS.

Will coronavirus come to the Netherlands?

In the non-infected club is the Netherlands, waiting nervously with Ireland, Portugal, and Poland among others. However, how long the Netherlands will remain in the waiting room is unclear: Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) has said there is a real risk we will soon have a COVID-19 patient in the Netherlands.

The Dutch are reasonably well-prepared in the event of an emergency, thankfully. A pandemic protocol has already been prepared and will be activated if necessary, including the deployment of quarantine areas. In fact, the 2019 Global Health Security Index ranked the Netherlands as the third-most prepared country for a pandemic in the world. However, the same index found overall none of 195 countries measured were adequately prepared for a pandemic.

map-showing-preparedness-for-pandemic-across-world
Image: Global Health Security Index 2019

What to do if you think you have the coronavirus in the Netherlands

Concerned you may be infected with the coronavirus? Firstly, don’t stress. There’s a far higher chance of having a common cold or the flu, and the symptoms are basically the same. Unless you’ve travelled to infected parts of Asia recently or been in close contact with someone diagnosed you’re more than likely safe.

You should only call the doctor if you’re also experiencing a fever of at least 38 degrees, a cough, shortness of breath, or tightness in the chest. This may still not be enough to get admitted. You must have been in a risk area or in contact with an infected person.

If these circumstances do apply, don’t go directly to the doctor. Call for a telephone consultation first and the doctor will make a decision to make a home visit. This will reduce the risk of infecting others.

Got any tips for dealing with anxiety around the coronavirus outbreak? Leave them in the comments below!

Feature Image: leo2014/Pixabay

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Samantha Dixon
Sam isn’t great at being Dutch. Originally hailing from Australia, she came to study in the Netherlands without knowing where the country was on a map. She once accidentally ordered the entire ice-cream menu at Smullers. She still can’t jump on the back of a moving bike. But, she remains fascinated by the tiny land of tall people.

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