Netherlands reintroduce Covid restrictions as cases soar

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Netherlands Reintroduce Covid Restrictions As Cases Soar Netherlands Reintroduce Covid Restrictions As Cases Soar
On Tuesday, the Dutch Health Council recommended that fully vaccinated adults aged 60 and older should begin receiving a Covid-19 booster shot. Photo: Getty Images.
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Reuters

The Dutch government has decided to re-impose Covid-19 measures, including the wearing of face masks, aimed at slowing the latest spike in infections, the country's prime minister, Mark Rutte said.

The use of a "corona pass", showing proof of a Covid vaccination or a recent negative test, would be broadened as of November 6th to public places including museums, gyms and outdoor terraces, Mr Rutte said.

Covid infections in the Netherlands have been rising for a month after most social distancing measures were scrapped in late September and reached their highest level since July in the past week.

This has forced many hospitals to cut back on regular care again, to make room for urgent Covid cases.

Basic rules

In a televised news conference, MR Rutte called on all Dutch, vaccinated and unvaccinated, to stick to basic hygiene rules and to stay at home if they had symptoms of a possible infection.

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"Our own behaviour is crucial, a very large part of our coronavirus policy depends on it," he said.

Face masks will be reintroduced in stores and other public places, while people are advised to work at home for at least half of the time.

The Dutch government next week could decide to broaden the use of the corona pass to the workplace, Mr Rutte added.

Dutch health authorities on Tuesday recommended Covid vaccine booster shots for older adults. Around 84 per cent of the Dutch adult population has been vaccinated.

As of Tuesday, new infections were up nearly 40 per cent week-on-week to more than 300 infections per 100,000 people, approaching peaks previously seen in July 2021, and in December and October 2020.

The strain on hospitals is an immediate concern, as the country's National Institute for Health said admissions are up 31 per cent in the past week, with unvaccinated patients accounting for most hospitalisations.

Among people testing positive in the past month, about 52 per cent say they were unvaccinated, while 45 per cent say they were fully vaccinated, according to RIVM data.

Earlier on Tuesday, the country's Health Council recommended that fully vaccinated adults aged 60 and older should begin receiving a booster shot.

Mr Rutte's government routinely adopts the council's recommendations.

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