Fewer positive coronavirus tests, but rate of decline has slowed
The number of positive coronavirus tests in the Netherlands continues to decline, although the rate of decline has slowed significantly, according to new figures from public health institute RIVM.
Last week, some 18,000 people tested positive for coronavirus, a decline of 14% on the previous seven day period. That week the decline was almost 44%.
The percentage of positive tests also remains high, at almost 13%. Last week, the figure was 12.3%. The World Health Organisation recommends that strict coronavirus measures remain in place if the percentage of positive tests exceeds 5%.
News from the hospitals is more encouraging. In total, 583 people were admitted to the hospital with the virus over the past week, compared with 671 in the week earlier period. There was a slight increase in intensive care admissions. Some 214 people are currently being treated in an IC ward, and 686 coronavirus patients are in hospital.
The number of infections has gone down across all Dutch regions and age groups, with 15 to 24-year-olds still accounting for three in 10 positive tests. In nearly 12% of cases, the infection was probably picked up abroad, mainly in Greece, Spain and France.
The government is actively encouraging everyone returning from holiday to take a test and is making free self-tests available at airports.
The R factor, which shows how the virus is reproducing, remains at 0.79, which means every 100 people with the virus will infect a further 79.
Prime minister Mark Rutte and health minister Hugo de Jonge will host a press conference on Friday during which they are expected to outline the next phase in getting the Netherlands back to normal.
Rutte told reporters on Monday that there were no plans to introduce any more restrictions. Most were abolished on June 26, but social distancing and the recommendation to work at home remain.
In particular, schools and universities are hoping that ministers will agree to drop social distancing when the new academic year starts in September. The events industry is also hoping for more clarity on when festivals and clubs can open again.
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