Coronavirus infections continue to spread in the Netherlands, though at a slightly slower rate. While the total weekly number of infections is beginning to curb, hospitalisations are still on the rise.
In the past week, the Netherlands has had 64,087 new infections, according to new figures from RIVM. This is 3,455 fewer than last week’s 67,542 new infections.
But while new infections are levelling off, hospitals are still under immense pressure. The number of nursing ward hospitalisations has increased to 1966 from the previous week’s 1739.
The number of ICU patients has decreased very slightly. While the previous week had 333 ICU patients, this week there were 321.
In the past week, there have been 435 deaths related to coronavirus, up significantly from last week’s 329.
While the rate of infection is beginning to slow, it’s clear that new measures are necessary to gain control over the virus’s rapid spread.
Yesterday, word got out that tonight’s press conference will likely announce new coronavirus measures. The cabinet and experts have been meeting to discuss the best course of action to reduce the R factor in the Netherlands. Sources have indicated new measures will include limiting the group size from four to two people in public and essentially shutting down the public entertainment industry. It’s likely that museums, theatres, cinemas, music venues, concert halls, zoos, and theme parks will have to close.
Even stricter regional measures are also being discussed. These could include curfews and full lockdown restrictions in certain high-risk zones.
The new measures are expected to go into effect from Thursday and last for two weeks.
Schools, gyms, and contact professions like hairdressers and non-emergency medical services will not be affected by the new regulations.
The full package of measures will be announced at tonight’s press conference.
Plea for former healthcare workers to come out of retirement
With the increased pressure on hospitals, healthcare organisations are urging no longer active healthcare workers to come out of retirement. “The situation is not tenable for much longer,” a spokesperson tells AD.
The website extrahandenvoordezorg.nl was set up for potential healthcare workers to register. A crash-course is has been designed to teach essential industry skills to people both with and without prior healthcare experience.
The CoronaMelder app has been downloaded by nearly 4 million people in the Netherlands. It sends out notifications to around 10,000 people per day that they have come within close range of someone infected with the virus. However, it’s been found that a small percentage of this number who have not actually been within 1.5 metres of an infected person also received the notification.
It’s estimated that about 70% of people receive an accurate notification, meaning they were within 1.5 metres of an infected person for more than 15 minutes.
However, in a small number of cases, the person is further away. The app works via Bluetooth, so this is not to say the incorrectly notified person hasn’t been exposed, only that the distance may have been further or the amount of time shorter.
Ron Roozendaal, Chief Information Officer at the Ministry of Health emphasises that “In the majority of cases, the app recognises the distance correctly.”
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