Dutch official death toll rises by 83, as hospital admissions continue drop

The overnight death toll from coronavirus has risen by 83, the public health institute RIVM said in its Sunday update. In addition, a further 110 people have been hospitalised with the disease, the RIVM said.

The increase takes the official death toll from coronavirus to 3,684. The figure only includes people who have been tested for the disease and weekend figures also tend to be lower because of reporting time lags, the RIVM said.

In total, 9,704 people have now been hospitalised for coronavirus and 32,655 people have tested positive for the disease, as testing is ramped up to cover more healthcare staff.

A Q&A about coronavirus in the Netherlands

Meanwhile, RIVM infectious diseases expert Jacco Wallinga told broadcaster NOS in an interview that the first hurdle to overcome the virus has now been taken. ‘We’ve made that, which is great,’ he said. ‘Now we have to try to make sure we come into calmer waters.’

The current infection rate in the Netherlands is under 1, which is considered to be a key figure in examining how the virus spreads. The government has also said a figure of below 1 is a crucial indicator of whether some rules can be relaxed.

‘We have to make sure that pressure on hospitals continues to decrease,’ Wallinga said. ‘Then we can slowly look for measures which make sure the epidemic remains manageable…. if we open schools, cafes and restaurants now, I can imagine the figure will rise above 1 again.’

Ministers are due to announce on April 21 if some of the lockdown measures in the Netherlands can be relaxed.

Insiders suggest that primary schools at least may be opened again after the May holidays, but that the ban on organised events could continue until September.

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