Dutch coronavirus cases hits 382; King's day fest in The Hague canceled

THE HAGUE - The number of patients in the Netherlands who tested positive for the Covid-19 strain of coronavirus rose to 382, including four people who died. The most recent person to die with the virus was a 78-year-old who had a weakened immune system. Health agency RIVM said 161 of all patients who tested positive were infected abroad, and 156 cases were still under investigation.

Over half of the 61 new patients reside in the province of Noord-Brabant, bringing the total there to 157.

Meanwhile, the uncertainty over the increasing number of infections has led to the cancellation of events even over a month away. One of the biggest event cancellations to date is the Kingsworld festival, scheduled for King's Day, April 27, in The Hague. The 2019 edition drew thousands of people for the event on a date many consider to be the country's biggest annual celebration, the birthday of King Willem-Alexander.

"Due to all developments at the moment regarding the coronavirus and the impossibility to insure our event against this, the uncertainty has become too great for us," organizers said. "What we are especially afraid of is the risk of the government forcing us at a later time to cancel the event," they said, adding, "Or that the government calls on everyone to avoid public events later." The event was to take place at the sprawling park grounds around the Cars Jeans Stadium, home to football club ADO Den Haag.

Also, Dutch football association KNVB said it plans to discuss what to do about upcoming football matches, where teams in Noord-Brabant and neighboring cities were to bring their supporters to clubs elsewhere in the country. On top of that, teams who play their matches where the virus has been less prevalent are wondering if it is responsible to bring their fans to areas that are under more stricter quarantine rules.

Noord-Brabant is still the Dutch province most affected by the virus. The RIVM called on residents of the province to stay in their homes if they even have mild cold-like symptoms. The province called on locals to work from home as much as possible. Valkenswaard mayor Anton Ederveen said on Twitter that he is heeding this advice. "No meeting today but working from home. Just like many other Brabant residents after the RIVM advice," he said. 

The call to work from home resulted in a quieter than usual morning rush hour in Noord-Brabant, according to travelers' association ANWB. The train stations in the province were also very quiet on Tuesday morning, according to Omroep Brabant. 

Two nurses at Radboudumc in Nijmegen tested positive for the virus, the hospital said on Tuesday. One employee was tested after they returned from Italy, the other was tested after stricter screening measures were implemented for employees with respiratory complaints from Noord-Brabant. Both are in home quarantine and doing well under the circumstances, the hospital said, according to NOS. They can return to work after they had no symptoms for at least 24 hours.

The two Nijmegen nurses join a string of hospital employees from elsewhere in the country who tested positive for the virus. Earlier this week, the Amphia Hospital in Breda announced that 10 of its employees have been diagnosed. An employee of the Admiraal de Ruyter hospital in Goes tested positive on Monday. And previously employees of the UMC Amsterdam, the OLVG in Amsterdam, the Catharina Hospital in Eindhoven, and the Jeroen Bosch Hospital in Den Bosch all tested positive for the virus. 

The province of Friesland got its first Covid-19 case on Tuesday. According to Omrop Fryslan, a married couple from Gorredijk, in the municipality of Opsterland, were diagnosed with the virus. They are quarantined at their home with their son. The local department of municipal health service GGD is investigating who they had contact with.

On Tuesday morning, Curacao denied access to the island to the passengers of cruise ship MS Braemer from cruise line Fred Olsen, because three passengers are believed to be infected with Covid-19. The ship was allowed to dock, but passengers weren't allowed to disembark. The ship is expected to depart from the island as planned later in the day.

So far, there have been no Covid-19 diagnoses on Curacao. The Caribbean islands are very worried about the disease, given the large number of cruise ships that dock there. Last week Sint Maarten refused another cruise ship because it had not submitted a list of its passengers' health data on time. 

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