Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

In December 2019 in Wuhan China, originated an outbreak of a novel coronavirus also called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2). The disease it can cause is called coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. Most patients have a fever and respiratory complaints. The Chinese authorities are investigating the coronavirus together with the World Health Organization (WHO). Worldwide, measures are being taken to prevent and reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus.

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Frequently asked questions about the impact of the novel coronavirus on education, childcare, employees, employers, entrepreneurs, travellers and public transport can be found on

By coughing and sneezing, a person transmits the virus through his nose, throat or lungs. The virus gets into the air through small droplets. If other people inhale these droplets or transfer them via their hands in their mouth, nose or eyes, for example, they can become infected with the virus.

What you can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

Wash your hands with soap regularly
Cough and sneeze on the inside of your elbow
Use paper tissues
No handshaking
Stay at home with symptoms of the common cold or flu
Limit social contacts

On 27 February 2020, the first patient was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus in the Netherlands. Since then, more patients have been diagnosed with COVID-19. The novel coronavirus had emerged earlier in several European countries and globally.

For the current number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Netherlands click here.

Click here for real-time data on the novel coronavirus spread across the world

The source of infection of the majority of COVID-19 patients in the Netherlands is known, but data from research of patients in the Netherlands show that COVID-19 is spreading in the Netherlands. Almost all of the first confirmed cases in the Netherlands had been infected abroad, or their direct contacts had been abroad. However, there are now also patients for whom it is not clear where they have contracted the virus.

Because a cold, a cough or a fever may be the first symptoms of COVID-19, people with these symptoms are now called up on to avoid social contacts as much as possible. This way, the spread of the virus will slow down in the Netherlands.  For more information about the additional measures as of 12 March 2020 in the Netherlands go to

Patients infected with the novel coronavirus have a fever (38c) and respiratory symptoms, such as a cough and shortness of breath. The novel coronavirus is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously known in humans.

COVID-19 is transmitted from human to human. At this time, it is assumed that one sick person can infect 2 other persons on average. The sicker a person becomes, the more likely he is to spread the virus.

The protocol for action in the Netherlands is isolation, contact investigation and monitoring of the patient. The Municipal Public Health Service (GGD) tracks down the patients’ contacts and monitors all contacts to minimise the chance of the disease spreading.

RIVM National Institute for Public Health and the Environment   informs Dutch infectious disease doctors on the state of affairs and developments concerning the novel coronavirus. In addition, 14 laboratories in the Netherlands are testing patients who are suspected of having the coronavirus. This test can only be requested by the Municipal Public Health Service (GGD) or a hospital.  All GGD’s and hospitals are informed about the protocols in place, describing how to take care of a patient and what measures should be taken.

RIVM monitors the situation with international partners, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Center for Disease Protection and Control (ECDC). In the Netherlands, General Practitioners, infectious disease specialists, GGD and microbiological laboratories all work together to combat infectious diseases, such as the novel coronavirus.

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a negative travel advisory for the province of Hubei and for Northern-Italy. Travel advice for the rest of China and Italy has also been revised. For the latest travel advice please check the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Chinese tourists can contact the Chinese embassy: 0031-70-3065083 (daytime) or +31-684557449 (in case of emergency).

If you have a fever (38C or more) and respiratory symptoms (coughing or shortness of breath) and were in one of the following countries or regions in the past 14 days:

  • China (including Hong Kong and Macao)
  • Italy
  • Iran
  • Singapore
  • South Korea

Contact your GP by phone.

If you were in one of these areas and have symptoms of the common cold or a slightly elevated temperature, stay home and make sure you have as little contact with others as possible. It could be the first symptoms of COVID-19, but it might also be a common cold virus. It is not necessary to call your GP at this stage. If your symptoms worsen: a fever (38c) and respiratory complaints (coughing and shortness of breath), you should call your GP.