The RIVM has released its weekly coronavirus figures for the period of March 2 to March 9. The number of infections has fallen slightly compared to the previous week.
The curfew which has been in place in the Netherlands since January 23 has been extended until March 30. However, certain other smaller measures have been relaxed.
In a press conference last night, these relaxations were announced by the Prime Minister Mark Rutte and the Minister of Health Hugo de Jonge. Most notably, De Jonge announced that terraces could open by Easter if the R rate drops sufficiently.
New number of infections
Over the past week, the RIVM reported 31,959 new infections in the Netherlands. This is a small decrease compared to the previous week’s number of 31,984 new infections. But a whopping 14% more people got tested, so the number of positive tests actually dropped: 8,1% this week compared to 8,9% last week. The RIVM calls this a good thing since more people with corona will now be detected and stay home.
The number of patients who have died from COVID-19-related complications has also decreased. This week 269 people passed away, compared to 309 people the previous week.
Hospitalisations are going down, however, the number of admissions to the ICU has gone up slightly. The past week saw 1,145 new admissions to the nursing ward and 271 new patients in the ICU. The week before, there were 1,191 and 223, respectively.
The Dutch government remains concerned over the new variants of coronavirus as well as the third wave of infections, yet some measures have been relaxed.
More sports and shopping
In last night’s press conference, Rutte announced that shops can admit more customers per day, those over 27 can play group sports, and children’s swimming lessons can resume.
On March 16, shops are will be allowed to have 1 person in their store per 25m2 of space. This means that multiple people may be allowed on one floor at any given time as long as they can have 25m2 of space each. There is a maximum of 50 people though.
The avondklok has been extended until March 30. There is an exception for the Dutch general election so the votes can be counted.
Election day is March 17, but some voters are able to cast their ballot on March 15 and 16, so these 3 days, there will also be a suspension of the curfew for those working at the polls or those returning from voting.
Travel ban on the UK lifted
The ban on flights and ferries coming in from the UK will be lifted tonight at midnight. The Ministry of Health has said that the British variant of the virus already spread in the Netherlands at an extent to which the travel ban is no longer beneficial.
While the ban on flights between the UK and Cape Verde have been lifted. The current ban on flights between the Netherlands and South Africa and some countries in South America has been extended.
First jabs by July?
Last night, Minister of Health, Hugo de Jonge, claimed once again that any adult in the Netherlands can receive their first dose of the vaccine by July if all goes well in terms of delivery.
He has also said the Dutch government is investigating the idea of only giving one dose of the vaccination to those who have had coronavirus symptoms. However, more research is needed in this area.