New coronavirus cases top 4,000, MPs criticise mass church service


A total of 4,007 new coronavirus infections were reported to the public health institute RIVM in the 24 hours to Sunday morning, as the steady rise in Dutch cases continues.

A further 69 people were admitted to hospital, of whom 163 are now being treated on intensive care wards. The increase in hospital admissions, at 9%, is the highest in a week, officials said.

By far the most new infections were recorded in Amsterdam, where the total rose by 457. In Rotterdam there were 267 new cases, in The Hague 256.

Ministers said last week they expected the number of new infections to reach 5,000 a day before the impact of new measures to control the spread of the virus begins to have an effect.

Meanwhile, ChristenUnie and Christian Democrat MPs have criticised church officials in the staunchly Protestant village of Staphorst, where three services were held, one after the other, and each with 600 people.

Although churchgoers were briefed on the coronavirus rules before the service, they were not asked to wear face masks, and they were allowed to sing, broadcaster NOS said.

‘The freedom which churches have… demands they also act responsibly,’ a ChristenUnie spokesman told broadcaster NOS. ‘That means not going as far as you can, but doing what is sensible.’

Religious services are exempt from the new maximum number of people who can take part in an organised event, which was reduced to 30 last week.

In Amsterdam, by contrast, many of the cities mosques have decided to close their doors for the next three weeks, while the tougher measures are in force, the Parool reported at the weekend.


There are also concerns that a much criticised licenced event for football supporters in Tilburg two weeks ago may turn out to be a super spreading event.

The number of new cases of coronavirus in Tilburg soared from between 10 and 20 a day to over 80 on Saturday, nine days after the council allowed fans to gather together to watch Willem II play their first European football match in 15 years.

Police were also called in to end a wedding party on an industrial estate in Tilburg on Friday night, which was attended by 180 people.

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