The coronavirus causing the disease COVID-19 has arrived in the Netherlands. Amsterdam Mamas has compiled a list of resources to help our community navigate this outbreak. The websites we link to will have the most accurate and current information. Updated 1 July 2020.
At Amsterdam Mamas we want to encourage community discussion and support, however we also realise that social media is an enormous source of misinformation, fear and rumour. For this reason we think it is important at this time that we take an active role in providing well sourced, official information, in English where possible.
USEFUL LINKS FOR CURRENT INFORMATION
- Official Dutch Government Dutch Government COVID-19 Information Page (English)
- Official Dutch Government Travel Advisory Page (English)
- Dutch Ministry of Health
- European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
- World Health Organization (WHO)
- Up to date information about current worldwide spread
- Here is the last updated protocol medical professionals are to follow, courtesy of the Dutch Association of Huisartsen. (Translation available)
RE-OPENING AND TESTING (What we know as of June 2020)
If you have symptoms of Covid-19 you can call the special number to schedule a test at the GGD testing location nearest you. DON’T call your huisarts or the huisartsen posten for a test, they can’t help you. You have to call the GGD TESTING LINE. 0800-1202
- Common cold symptoms such as colds, runny nose, sneezing, sore throat
- Shortness of breath
- Fever (above 38degrees C)
- Sudden loss of smell and / or taste (without nasal congestion)
From 1st June you can book a test. The GGD are limited in the number of tests they can perform a day and it is anticipated that demand will be high in the first week but things should (hopefully) settle down after that and you will be able to get a test within a day or two. The phoneline will be open 8am-8pm daily. Make sure you have your BSN number when calling.
It takes 7-8 hours to run a PCR test for COVID-19. You will be phoned with results within 48 hours.
Good for you! You can go about your daily life.
You and your entire household must quarantine at home for 14 days. You will be contacted by a member of the GGD for contact tracing.
Someone from the GGD will contact you to ask you all the details of where you have been and who you were in contact with in the days prior to the call. All of those people will also be contacted.
You and your household are asked to self isolate at home and maintain physical distancing for the next 14 days. You will have to report on symptoms during this time.
No. This test is diagnostic only. It can only tell you if you have the virus now. It does not look for antibodies so it cannot tell you if you have had covid-19 in the past. (For those interested it is an rtPCR based test for Covid-19 RNA).
Maybe. The jury is still out on whether it is possible for people to be reinfected with the virus and whether natural infection leads to long term immunity. It is also possible that the virus will mutate and start reinfecting people again.
COMMUNITY PROTECTION: Social Distancing
We are being asked to
- work from home when possible
- maintain a distance of 1.5 meters from others when out and about
- avoid groups of people and social situations.
- wear masks on pubic transporttation
Anyone with any sort of cold flu symptom is asked to self-isolate at home!
For those in CRITICAL PROFESSIONS who need to access childcare, schools will remain open to provide support at no extra cost. If you are eligible and want to take up this offer you need to contact your school.
However, if your child is ill this option cannot be taken up.
The current Dutch Guidelines on the best way to protect yourself from Coronavirus is to frequently WASH HANDS with SOAP and WATER before preparing food, meals, after coughing, sneezing and using the bathrooms.
- Handwashing with cold water is almost as effective as hot water provided hands are washed for a full 20-40 seconds using the accepted technique.Parent tip: The ditty Happy Birthday is 20 secs!
- Hands should be dried on disposable paper towels or a clean dry cloth, not hand driers.
- Liquid soap should be used in preference to soap bars as bacteria and viruses may be left behind.
Pictorial hand hygiene technique from the NHG
A word about hand sanitizers: The RIVM advises that at home and work spaces SOAP and WATER should be the first line of defence.
If you are out and about and soap and water is not readily available then an alcohol based hand sanitiser is an acceptable alternative for cleaning hands after sneezing or before eating. Hand sanitisers should be of commercial grade – tested for efficacy and safety – have an alcohol base (usually isopropanol) of 60-85% alcohol and be used properly with good hand washing technique. Don’t dry your hands after using alcohol based sanitiser, allow the sanitiser to dry naturally.
DIY Hand sanitizers: The WHO, CDC and RIVM do NOT advise making your own hand sanitiser. Buying and using a verified product free from microbial contamination and produced according to legal production standards is a better way to to keep safe.
TRAVEL/SUMMER HOLIDAY PLANS
Wondering what/where is allowed, permitted, discouraged when it comes travel during summer 2020?
The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs also keeps updating their page in regards to travel in and out of the Netherlands. For people considering travel abroad during this time, please consult travel advise to the particular country.
The WHO also has a page with current travel advisories.
Bear in mind that some carriers have cancelled their flights to high risk destinations, so consult the company of your choosing before buying a ticket via a third party.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE NEWS RESOURCES IN NETHERLANDS
Sources for this post include:
Photo credit: Freepik