2020 coronavirus pandemic in the Netherlands
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|2020 coronavirus pandemic in the Netherlands|
Numbers of registered infections per province from 21 to 31 March 2020
Confirmed cases per 10,000 inhabitants by municipality
|Arrival date||27 February 2020|
(1 month and 6 days)
The 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic was confirmed to have spread to the Netherlands on 27 February 2020, when its first COVID-19 case was confirmed in Tilburg. It involved a 56-year-old Dutchman who had arrived in the Netherlands from Italy. As of 31 March, there are 13,614 confirmed cases of infection and 1,173 deaths. The first death occurred on 6 March, when an 86-year-old patient died in Rotterdam.
- As of 22 January 2020, the main international airport Schiphol was not taking extra measures against the spread of the virus, stating the lack of direct flights from or to Wuhan.
- 26 February: the Dutch foreign ministry updated its travel advice for Italy, advising citizens not to travel to areas affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
- 27 February: the first confirmed case of COVID-19, a man from Loon op Zand who had been in the Lombardy region of Italy was admitted to Elisabeth-TweeSteden Hospital in Tilburg.
- 28 February: a second case confirmed, a woman from Amsterdam who had visited the Lombardy region in Italy was in home isolation in Diemen. She is an employee of the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam.
- 29 February: third and fourth cases confirmed, the husband and the youngest child of the second case. On the same day the wife and daughter of the first case were also confirmed to have the virus. Another case is a woman from Delft who is isolated at home.
- 1 March: three new cases were confirmed: a 49-year-old woman from Nieuwendijk who had been hospitalised at Erasmus MC in Rotterdam, a woman in Tilburg and a man in Dalen, Coevorden. The 49-year-old woman had been admitted to the Beatrix Hospital in Gorinchem on 21 February before being transferred to Rotterdam later. She arrived at the Beatrix Hospital with respiratory problems and stayed in intensive care for a week. A test for SARS-CoV-2 was not conducted since she had no connection to infected areas or people. Therefore, her infection went unnoticed for over a week. On 1 March it was announced that she had COVID-19 and that she had been relocated to Erasmus MC due to her deteriorating condition earlier. Since then the Beatrix Hospital went into lock-down out of precaution for a few days. Only personnel was allowed to enter and leave the building. The hospital fully reopened on 5 March, after all employees had tested negative.
- 4 March: the total number of cases was 38, which included one person passing through the Netherlands who was isolated in Hoofddorp. The next day this number more than doubled to 82. According to Bruno Bruins, Dutch minister for Medical Care, this was due to a catch-up in conducted tests.
- 6 March: the RIVM announced the first death due to COVID-19, an 86-year-old patient.
- 9 March: the total number of cases was 321, of which more than one-third were found in North Brabant. The prime minister Mark Rutte asked citizens to stop shaking hands. Until this day, some public measures had been put in place to limit the spread of the virus.
- 10 March: stricter measures were introduced in the province of North Brabant. Larger events were banned, including professional football, a number of dance festivals, carnival parades and concerts. A scholarship program was cancelled at the University of Eindhoven. In addition to this, the mayor of Tilburg Theo Weterings called to limit social contacts for a week.
- 12 March: the government announced new measures that will be in effect through the end of the month. All events (concerts, sports) and all meetings with more than 100 people are now forbidden and the RIVM is encouraging people to work from home. The restriction also applies to museums. All Dutch universities will suspend physical teaching until 1 April, but online teaching will continue. Schools remain open.
- 13 March, the government cancelled all flights from China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea, the countries with the highest number of coronavirus cases, for two weeks. Flights leaving the destinations before 18:00 on that day could still land in the Netherlands.
- 15 March: the total number of cases was 1,135. The Public Health Service (GGD) estimated that as of this day, 6,000 people in the Netherlands had been infected. This is because since 12 March people with mild complaints had not been tested anymore. Public measures were also tightened up. Schools and childcare centres will remain closed until 6 April, as well as cafés, restaurants, sports clubs, saunas, sex clubs and coffeeshops.
- 16 March: In the evening Prime Minister Mark Rutte addressed the nation about the coronavirus. It was the first time a prime minister had addressed the nation since the 1973 oil crisis. In his speech he announced that the government chooses to not resort to population confinement measures, that the preferred approach to tackling the epidemic relies on building population immunity.
- 17 March: the total number of confirmed cases was 1,705, of which 314 patients had been admitted to the hospital. Arie Slob notified that schools could stay open for the sole purpose of letting final exam candidates finish their last schoolwork. Schools will only open if certain conditions are met. This measure is taken to ensure that final exam candidates are prepared for the national exam at the start of May.
- 18 March: the Dutch minister for Medical care, Bruno Bruins became unwell during a debate and collapsed. On 19 March he resigned from his position as minister for Medical care. In a press conference it was announced that Hugo de Jonge would from then on handle the Coronavirus pandemic in the Netherlands.
- 19 March:A traveller from the Netherlands was described as "Patient Zero of the Winelands" in South Africa.
- 20 March: in a press conference it was announced that Martin van Rijn will become the new minister for Medical care. In the evening, King of the Netherlands Willem-Alexander addressed the nation, due to the coronavirus outbreak.
- 22 March: NOC*NSF (Dutch Olympic Committee*Dutch Sports Federation) sent a letter to the IOC. It states the advice that the 2020 Summer Olympics only can take place when the coronavirus crisis is under control worldwide. The NOC also asked for more certainty for the athletes. The letter was supported by most of the National Sport Federations.
- 23 March: stricter social distancing rules were announced in a press conference.
- 24 March: in a press conference, the Dutch Minister for Primary and Secondary Education announced all final examinations (centraal eindexamen) for secondary education were cancelled.
- 26 March: NOC*NSF (Dutch Olympic Committee*Dutch Sports Federation) provided hundreds of cooling vests for healthcare personnel at the intensive care departments in several hospitals. Doctors have to work in warm conditions among others due to the protective clothing they have to wear. The vests would initially be used by the Dutch athletes at the 2020 Summer Olympics.
- 29 March: The total number of positive coronavirus cases in the country surpassed 10,000. Upon the announcement, RIVM stated that 'the number of hospitalized patients and the number of deaths are increasing less quickly than would have been expected without measures'. It further said that since testing was done mostly only for the very sick and healthcare workers, the actual number of infections is likely to be far higher.
- 31 March: In a press conference it was announced that all measures initiated on 15 March will be extended until 28 April.
Prevention measures and response
In late March, the government announced strict social distancing rules as cases surged over 5,000. All events and gatherings of three people or more (that are not from the same household) are banned until 1 June. Furthermore, in public space a distance of at least 1.5 meters between people not from the same household must be observed, and stores and other venues are to enforce this distancing among their visitors. Fines will be issued to those not complying with the new rules. Companies may face a fine up to €4,000, individuals risk a fine up to €400. Prime Minister Mark Rutte repeated his call to keep distance from each other. Final examinations of secondary school were cancelled on 24 March.
By mid-March, the country could test about 1,000 samples per day, which is less than the capabilities of other European countries. This also explains a relatively large ratio of the number of deaths to the number of confirmed cases. As of 25 March, 2,500 samples have been tested daily and a total number of 38,000 tests performed. Because of the limited availability of testing capacity, certain groups were prioritised in testing, such as healthcare workers, elderly, and people with acute symptoms. A lack of testing capacity causes a distinct number of deaths by COVID-19 that are not registered as such, although local doctors can recognise the symptoms. By the end of March, the country was testing about 4,000 people per day, with the goal of expanding the testing capacity to about 17,500 daily tests in a couple of weeks. Once such a testing capacity has been reached the Dutch government wants to expand its testing capacity to 29,000 tests a day.
In response to regulations announced on 12 March, panic buying of food, toilet paper and medicines, resulted in empty shelves in supermarkets. Prime Minister Mark Rutte appealed to the nation to stop this behaviour. On 12 March it was announced that all public events with more than 100 people will be cancelled until 6 April. On 24 March this period was extended to 1 June for all permit-requiring events. Three days later it was announced in a press conference that all restaurants, museums, sport clubs and schools had to close.
On 26 March the Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis published the first calculations of the economic expectations. These expectations are based on the length of the prevention measures against the coronavirus pandemic. If these measures are present for three months, the Dutch economy is expected to shrink by 1.2 percent in 2020. If these measures are required for a year the economy would decline with 10 percent. In all cases it is expected that the economy will slightly grow the following year.
Confirmed cases Hospitalizations Deaths
- The Dutch Government agency RIVM, responsible for the constituent country the Netherlands, does not count its number of recoveries.
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