New coronavirus cases in the Netherlands jumped to a record high of around 24,500 on Wednesday as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus has become dominant in the country, official data showed.
Infections were up almost 60 per cent from last week despite a strict lockdown that has closed all but essential stores as well as restaurants, hairdressers, gyms, museums and other public places since December 19th.
The previous record of just under 24,000 cases in 24 hours was set during the wave of infections caused by the Delta variant of the virus that swamped hospitals throughout the country in late November.
The lockdown has driven down the number of Covid-19 patients in Dutch hospitals to their lowest levels in two months, but experts expect admissions to increase again soon due to the rapid rise in infections.
Despite the looming wave of new cases, the Dutch government on Monday decided that primary and secondary schools can reopen as planned after the Christmas break on January 10th. It is set to decide on other elements of the lockdown on January 14th.
More than 85 per cent of Dutch adults are vaccinated, but the country's booster campaign has been slow to ramp up. As of Wednesday 32 per cent of adults have had a booster, according to government data.