Hospitals in the south of the Netherlands sound the alarm for COVID-19 – Community News
Covid-19

Hospitals in the south of the Netherlands sound the alarm for COVID-19

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Hospitals in the southern Dutch province of Limburg warned the government on Tuesday that they can no longer handle the new COVID-19 patients due to the rising number of coronavirus infections.

Five hospitals in the province bordering both Belgium and Germany sounded the alarm in a statement that read: “We are heading straight for a healthcare blockade and the whole system is coming to a standstill.”

They added: “We are confident that other parts of the Netherlands will soon follow.”

Amid an autumn wave across much of Europe, the seven-day moving average of daily new cases in the Netherlands has nearly doubled in the past two weeks from 30.88 to 61.12 new cases per 100,000 people, despite more than 80% of the adult population fully vaccinated.

The caretaker Dutch government introduced another order to wear face masks last week in public places such as shops and libraries and required an extension for the use of COVID-19 passes. Both measures came into effect this weekend. The government will meet again on Friday to discuss possible further measures if the rising numbers do not abate.

The Limburg hospitals state in their statement that their occupancy rate is now the same as at the end of December last year – when the Netherlands was locked.

“However, this time there is no prospect of a solution – after all, society is open – but it seems that the healthcare organizations and employees are the only ones who still have this sense of crisis and urgency,” they said. “We feel alone in this struggle.”

They called for an immediate start of a campaign to give booster shots to vulnerable people and health professionals. The booster campaign is expected to start next month.

Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said on Tuesday that the cabinet is investigating whether the campaign can start earlier.

“If it can be done faster, we will do it faster,” De Jonge told reporters.

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Follow all AP stories about the coronavirus pandemic at https://apnews.com/coronavirus-pandemic.

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