AMSTERDAM, Nov. 17 (Reuters) – Dutch health authorities said on Wednesday they were short of COVID-19 testing as the Netherlands registered more than 20,000 new cases of coronavirus for the second day in a row, the highest since the start of the pandemic .
“We are approaching the maximum of our capacity,” Jaap Eikelboom, head of Covid-19 operations at the GGD, said in a statement.
The agency said it was working to expand testing capacity amid a new wave that caught health authorities and Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s government by surprise. About 85% of the adult Dutch population is fully vaccinated.
On Tuesday, the National Institute for Public Health (RIVM) reported a record record of more than 110,000 new cases in the week ending November 16, a 44% increase from the week before, with the strongest increase among children aged 4-12.
Hospital admissions are on the rise and some of them are curtailing mainstream care to accommodate COVID-19 patients.
The latest wave started shortly after the government ended social distancing and other measures in September — a decision that has been reversed as cases skyrocket.
Earlier this month, the Rutte government reintroduced face masks into stores, and last weekend re-imposed a partial lockdown, including closing bars and restaurants after 8 p.m. But the impact of those measures is not yet reflected in the daily figures. read more
The House of Representatives met with Rutte last night to debate whether or not to limit access to covered public places for people who have a “corona pass” showing that they have been vaccinated or have already recovered from an infection.
Politicians were strongly divided on the idea, with some arguing that it unfairly discriminated against the unvaccinated and others arguing that it might be necessary anyway for public health reasons. No law has yet been proposed for vote. read more
Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Lisa Shumaker
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