Dutch daily death toll dips below 100, government talks about relaxing rules

The official coronavirus death toll in the Netherlands rose by 94 overnight, the lowest figure in two weeks, according to the Sunday update by public health institute RIVM.

The real weekend death toll is likely to be higher because some registered deaths have not yet been included in the total, the RIVM said. Nevertheless, the Sunday increase takes the official number of coronavirus-related deaths in the Netherlands to 2,737.

The number of people in hospital rose by 196 to 8,582, well down on the 244 average recorded over the past seven days. The number of positive coronavirus tests rose to 25,587. Again, the true number of infections is far higher.

Last week, the Dutch testing programme was expanded to cover health service workers who do not work in hospitals. Healthcare workers now account for 39% of new cases, the RIVM said.

Relax the rules

Meanwhile, RTL Nieuws reports that ministers have begun working on plans to relax the Dutch ‘intelligent lockdown’ after April 28.

The broadcaster bases its claim on leaked minutes of a meeting of senior civil servants.

Schools and childcare centres are the top priority to be re-opened and then restaurants, cinemas and gyms could also be gradually opened up, the report says.

However, the measures depend on enough progress being made in cutting back the spread of coronavirus and on the advice of the government’s experts, the broadcaster said.


The government has pledged to say if the lockdown will continue past April 28, and the May holiday in the case of schools, by April 21.

The minutes also show progress is being made on the government’s plans to use an app to track and trace sources of coronavirus. Legislation is being drawn up to make it easier to share information and the Dutch privacy watchdog has also been consulted, RTL Nieuws said.

The government has also asked companies and experts to ‘think about’ the development of an app and has set April 14 as the deadline for suggestions.

The government said last week that apps will have a key role in relaxing social distancing rules.

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