Insane blast damages Dutch coronavirus test centre
1 month ago, 03-Mar-2021
Technical investigators wearing protective equipment are at work after an explosion occurred near a Covid-19 test centre, shattering windows but causing no apparent injuries, in Bovenkarspel, the Netherlands. AFP photo
BOVENKARSPEL, Netherlands: An explosion struck a Dutch coronavirus test centre in a cowardly act of destruction on Wednesday, shattering windows but causing no injuries, police and government officials said.
The early morning blast in the town of Bovenkarspel, 60 kilometres north of the capital Amsterdam, was caused by a metal cylinder left outside the building, police said.
The incident comes weeks after another testing centre was burned down during violent riots across the Netherlands against a coronavirus curfew.
Police were called at 6.55am by a security guard from the corona test centre to say that an explosion had taken place. He had heard a loud bang and then saw that several windows of the building had broken, a police statement said.
Outside the building was a metal cylinder that had exploded. No one was injured in the incident.
North Holland police spokesman Menno Hartenberg said the explosion appeared to be deliberate.
Its not possible that this was by accident, the object was placed there and exploded near the front of the test centre, Hartenberg told AFP by telephone.
We are not ruling anything out and cant say anything about a motive, an investigation is underway.
Hartenberg added: It was a metal object somewhere between a tube and a canister.
Police forensics officers in white overalls were conducting a fingertip search of the area, which was cordoned off, an AFP journalist at the scene said.
Dutch Health Minister Hugo de Jonge condemned the attack, saying public health authorities were terribly shocked.
For over a year now, we have relied heavily on the people on the front lines. And then this. Insane, de Jonge said on Twitter.
The Dutch GGD public health department said it was horrified by the aggressive and intimidating incident.
Our people must be able to do this crucial work safely. This cowardly act of destruction affects us all, GGD national president Andre Rouvoet said on Twitter.
A bomb squad was sent to determine whether any explosive material remained at the scene, public television network NOS reported.
The part of the Netherlands in which Bovenkarspel is located is currently suffering one of the countrys most serious outbreaks, with 81 infections per 100,000 inhabitants, compared to a national average of 27.2, NOS said.
The Netherlands has recorded more than one million coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic and over 15,000 deaths.
Some 1.3 million people have received at least one dose of vaccine. AFP