Image copyright Oliver Maliczek Image caption Authorities have not yet issued any deportation orders, nor did they test any other migrants to see if the virus could spread in Holland
Dutch authorities are checking for the explosive bug “COVID-19” after 61 migrants came into contact with the potentially lethal “black powder” e-cigarette.
Dutch health authorities say the antidote Cenegenec will be given to anyone in contact with the affected batch.
Up to 15,000 of the e-cigarettes were manufactured at the Dutch workshop and may have been sold before Christmas.
The batch has not been officially identified but tests in the Netherlands and America indicated it was based on health-threatening carbolic acid.
Image copyright Oliver Maliczek Image caption The ‘black powder’ e-cigarette powder could contain a deadly COVCD infection causing death within two hours
The new Dutch minister for foreign affairs, Lilianne Ploumen, said on Thursday: “The COVID-19 e-cigarette, which was used for more than 30 days, has been taken off the market. The e-cigarettes were made in the Netherlands.
“This must be a simple and quick solution that will provide us with information in a timely manner about this problem and prevent anyone else falling ill or coming into contact with this substance.”
An initial group of more than 80 African and African-American migrants who brought the potentially deadly “black powder” into the Netherlands have been tested to see if they have contracted the virus.
But nothing conclusive came from their tests and they have not yet been ordered to be tested.
Dutch health authorities have also checked some 12,000 cigarettes in circulation in the Netherlands since 4 December for the “black powder” toxin.
There have been no reports of anyone falling ill but authorities are urgently checking the smoker’s past history to see if the lung disease COVID-19 could have spread in contact with the e-cigarettes.
But since there have been no other cases of any African migrants travelling to the Netherlands from South Africa, which initially reported the disease, authorities have not yet tested them.
Meanwhile the Dutch health ministry said any “Estonian variant” of the virus which may have spread outside the Netherlands is unlikely to be the more serious threat some had predicted.
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However, a Dutch health ministry spokeswoman added that anyone who bought and used the “black powder” e-cigarettes in the past should contact their pharmacist.
It was not clear how many e-cigarettes had been sold in the Netherlands.
Cenegenec, a Dutch manufacturer, says that approximately 45,000 of its e-cigarettes have been sold in the Netherlands and it has exported the products in Belgium, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden.
In South Africa, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said that it was now inevitable that people would die of COVID-19.
Black powder inhalation from aerosol inhaled over an extended period of time – which is the example of COVID-19 that had been reported so far – has the potential to cause an increase in cardiac disease, as well as respiratory problems and other types of damage to the nervous system, reported to be fatal within two hours of exposure.
Doctors have said that to prevent these victims from dying they need to prevent them inhaling nicotine, which as it is highly addictive, will not happen.