Lockdown may be extended, and British variant takes hold at a primary school

Cafes were closed during the lockdowns. Photo: DutchNews.nl
A closed cafe terrace in Amsterdam. Photo: DutchNews.nl

Broadcaster NOS is reporting that the Dutch lockdown maybe extended by at least two weeks because the infection rate is not coming down as fast as ministers would like.

Sources have told NOS that ministers consider any relaxation of the rules on January 19 – when the current lockdown was set to end – would not be a good signal.

Over 7,000 new cases of coronavirus are currently being reported on a daily basis and prime minister Mark Rutte had said in mid December that around 3,000 cases would the level for change in the lockdown conditions.

The public health institute RIVM said on Tuesday in its weekly update that lockdown has still not made a serious impact on the levels of coronavirus infection after three weeks.

Meanwhile, some 75 positive coronavirus cases have been traced to an outbreak at a primary school in Bergschenhoek on the outskirts of Rotterdam, and 30 of them at least are the more infectious British variant of the virus.

Over 750 parents, pupils and teachers at the Willibrord primary school, which is a Catholic faith school, have been tested after the first cases of coronavirus involving the British variant were identified at the school last month.

Three of those found to have the British variant are teachers at another school which shares facilities with the Willibrord. The local health board is now expanding its investigation, the AD said.

In total, 50 cases of the British variant have so far been identified in the Netherlands. A second small cluster is being investigated in Amsterdam. Some of the people with the British variant in the capital have been in the UK but not all, the RIVM said.

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