Amsterdam news roundup | Jan- Feb 2020
Written by BroadcastAMS on 09/03/2020
A local news roundup for Amsterdam between January – February 2020
A new national protocol for dealing with the corona virus has been announced by the RIVN following new cases diagnosed in the Netherlands, as reported by Het Parool. People who appear to have the corona virus in the Netherlands can go to almost all hospitals – large and small – for isolation. The quarantine period is currently 14 days. Under the right circumstances, it is even possible that they self-isolate at home. During the patient’s stay in isolation, the GGD investigates who the patient has been in contact with during the contagious period. All people with whom the patient has been in contact during the contagious period should monitor their health during the incubation period. If necessary, relatives will be quarantined as a precaution. Because the corona virus is a disease with serious public health risks, the government can force people to do so. The main symptoms of this new strain of the coronavirus are generally lung complaints. In addition, patients often have a high fever and cough. For more information see: ggd.amsterdam.nl or rivm.nl/en.
As reported by Het Parool, the second patient in the Netherlands to be infected with the corona virus is an Amsterdam woman who is currrently in isolation in a house in Diemen, according to the Dutch public health institute, the RIVM. The woman recently visited the Italian region of Lombardy, a region where the virus has claimed several victims. Apparently there seems to be no link between the first patient diagnosed in the Netherlands and this second patient. The GGD, the Amsterdam Municipal Health Service has mapped out who the Diemen patient has been in contact with and is also asking these people to monitor their health.
Amsterdam and Haarlemmermeer are still holding on to a construction stop for new data centers. Meanwhile, existing data centers are becoming overcrowded and tech companies are threatening to settle elsewhere. According to a report by Het Parool, the two municipalities halted the construction of new data centers, because they want more control over the rapid rise of the data industry. With 189 branches, Greater Amsterdam is by far the most important storage and processing place for data in Europe, thanks to AMS-IX, the Amsterdam internet exchange. Data centers want to be as close as possible to that internet access, so that the highest speeds, lowest access times and highest reliability are guaranteed. In turn, tech companies want to be as close to their data as possible for the same reason. However, due to the ongoing construction stop, there is less and less server space available and the prices for storage are rising fast. And with competition from other European data hubs growing, Amsterdam’s appeal to tech companies may start to diminish.
As reported by DutchNews.nl, direct train services from Amsterdam to London, with no passport checks in Brussels, will start on April 30, according to an announcement from the railway companies Eurostar and NS. By scrapping the stopover in Brussels, the journey time between the two capitals will be cut to four hours, 10 minutes, a reduction of some 45 minutes. Tickets for the direct service will cost from €40 and are now available to book.
Old, lead drinking water pipes have been found in various Amsterdam neighbourhoods, with houses in Zuid and the center of Amsterdam adding to properties in the Noord and Oost that had already been identified with this health risk. As reported by Het Parool newspaper, the newly identified houses include property managed by the housing corporations Stadgenoot, Ymere and De Key. Lead was used extensively for the water supply before the Second World War. We now know that lead in drinking water is especially harmful to young children, negatively influencing their learning ability and in the elderly it increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Since 1960 lead was no longer permitted in drinking water pipes due to the health hazards, and many were removed. However, it’s estimated that lead pipes remain in more than 100,000 homes, including owner-occupied and private rental homes. A private drinking water test can cost more than a hundred euros but one resident in West arranged for a test company to pick up bulk water samples from her neighbourhood at one location, at a discount. From 56 samples, only one provided a concerning result; 51 micrograms per liter.
In January the Amsterdam gemeente announced a new requirement for buyers of new build houses to actually live in their house and not immediately rent it out. The consultation procedure for the new measure has now started. According to alderman Laurens Ivens, this so-called self-housing obligation is intended to protect the housing market against buy-to-let investors, especially as there is a housing shortage in the city. Rental to immediate family remains possible. An exception also applies to residents of Amsterdam who are temporarily staying abroad. Also, owners are allowed to rent out their house as social housing, with a maximum rent of 1027 euros per month. According to De Nederlandsche Bank, one in five homes sold in Amsterdam is now in the hands of investors. A similar requirement for buyers of existing houses is not possible without national legislation, so for now it only applies to new-build properties.
The suspicious package left outside a Jewish restaurant in Amsterdam, sparking a major security scare, did not contain explosives, police have confirmed. The Amstelveenseweg was sealed off and locals urged to leave the area while explosives experts checked out the box … The HaCarmel first hit the headlines at the end of 2017 when a Palestinian man smashed its main window. According to a spokesman for the family who own the restaurant, this is the fourth incident in two years. (Read more on this story at DutchNews.nl.)
A letter bomb was delivered to the Hotel Okura in the Ferdinand Bolstraat on 3 January. The day before this, letters with explosives had been delivered to other companies in Amsterdam (at the Victoria Hotel and a gas station), as well as companies in Rotterdam and Utrecht. According to a report from Het Parool, a team including an explosives expert were on site at the Okura Hotel, which did not have to be evacuated. The letter was found in the mail room and was not opened as staff had recognised the style of the letter from the previous day’s news. The letter is being further investigated by the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI). All letters are from the same sender. The letters mentioned the Rotterdam collection agency CIB as the sender, but it appears that the company is not involved in the case. PostNL says that they have protocols for dealing with this situation. The police suspect that there are more letters in circulation, but they are unclear how many. They warn people who receive a letter with a bulge in it and a sticker with the logo of the CIB not to open it and to call 112 immediately. The advice remains that if you leave the letter intact, it will not explode. The letter usually only becomes dangerous when you open it. But if the letter does explode, this can cause serious physical injury.
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Sources: Het Parool / AT5 / NLtimes.nl / Dutchnews.nl.