AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - A patient in the Netherlands has been diagnosed with the new coronavirus Covid-19, Dutch health authorities said on Thursday, the first confirmed case in the country.
The Dutch National Institute for Public Health said in a statement the patient in the southern Dutch city of Tilburg had recently travelled in northern Italy and is now being treated in isolation. Seventeen people have died in Italy and 650 have been infected, in Europe's biggest coronavirus outbreak.
"To prevent the sickness from spreading further in the Netherlands, (public health authorities) ... will trace who has had close contact with the infected patient," said the institute, known by its Dutch acronym, RIVM.
Those contacts would be closely monitored for illness, it said.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in a tweet he hoped the infected man would recover and asked that people follow medical authorities' instructions.
"I am in close contact with (Minister for Medical Care) Bruno Bruins about all efforts being made to prepare our country for this," Rutte said.
(Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Chris Reese and Catherine Evans)