The number of coronavirus patients being treated in Dutch hospitals fell below 500 on Thursday, for the first time since October 2021.
In total, there are now 489 people with coronavirus in hospital, of whom 26 are in an intensive care ward, according to the government’s coronavirus dashboard. In the early stages of the pandemic over 1400 people were in an IC ward because they were so ill.
The number of people testing positive for coronavirus fell to 10,000 last week but the figure is no longer an accurate representation of the spread of the virus, given that people are no longer been recommended to have a home test verified in a health board testing centre.
Some 52% of those who do have a test – mainly health service workers, people who cannot self test and those who need a PCR test for other reasons – are positive.
Earlier this week, health minister Ernst Kuipers called on schools, businesses and venues to draw up their own plans for preventing a new wave of coronavirus infections this autumn.
Kuipers said he wanted to avoid reintroducing restrictions and mask mandates as far as possible, but it required people and organisations to regulate their own spaces.
He was responding to concerns raised by experts this week that the Netherlands was lagging behind in its pandemic preparation and risked another lockdown later this year unless firm plans were put in place to anticipate a resurgence of the virus from September.
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