On Thursday, October 15, the Dutch Health Ministry announced the country's highest 24-hour increase in cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) since the beginning of the pandemic. A total of 7791 new cases have been reported nationwide in the last 24 hours, in addition to 29 associated deaths. The latest tally brings the total number of confirmed cases in the Netherlands to 203,954 with 6692 associated deaths.
Dutch authorities announced a partial lockdown nationwide on Wednesday, October 14, following an increase in COVID-19 cases. Public gatherings of more than four people and the sale of alcohol in the evening are banned. Furthermore, the wearing of facemasks in indoor public places is now mandatory for people 13 years old and above. However, schools and public transportation are to remain operational, in contrast to past lockdowns. The new measures are to remain in place for four weeks, with their effectiveness evaluated after two.
Indoor areas, such as restaurants, are limited to a capacity of 30 people, and establishments serving food and drink must stop accepting guests at 21:00 (local time), and close at 22:00. Guests must provide contact details for tracing. Outdoor activities are capped at 40 people and authorities request travel be kept to a minimum.
Further international spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell, or a rash on the skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently, and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.
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