The death toll from coronavirus in the Netherlands rose by 30 overnight, taking the total number of deaths to 136, the public health institute RIVM said in its Saturday update.
The number of positive tests rose by 637 to 3,631, but the true number of infections will be far higher, the RIVM said. This is because testing is largely limited to people with serious symptoms and medical staff.
Most of the people who have died so far are over the age of 80 but the youngest was 63, the RIVM said.
Noord-Brabant continues to have far more positive tests than any other province, with the total now on 1,180. Zuid-Holland has had 486 and Noord-Holland 461.
Meanwhile, the army is working behind the scenes on helping deal with the crisis, armed forces chief Rob Bauer said in online defence news website Defensiekrant.
‘It is a positive sign that you are not yet coming across us in the flesh,’ Bauer said. ‘If that is the case, then the situation in the Netherlands will have worsened considerably.
The armed forces have already made equipment to help people breath available to hospitals and are looking into establishing emergency hospitals.
The army has also set up an emergency refugee centre in the Groningen village of Zoutkamp for new arrivals who are now being refused admittance to regular refugee accommodation as a precautionary measure.
Deliveries of essential supplies, including face masks, are now arriving, acting health minister Hugo de Jonge said on Saturday morning. This, he said, heads off the need to requisition supplies as some have suggested.
Binnen! Afgelopen weken hebben inkopers van het @ErasmusMC en het ministerie gewerkt aan een toelevering van FFP2-maskers voor NL. Eerste lading van zo’n 690.000 mondkapjes is net binnen en wordt zo snel mogelijk gedistribueerd naar de plekken waar de nood het hoogst is. 😷🦠💪 pic.twitter.com/QorC90A4tv
— Hugo de Jonge (@hugodejonge) March 21, 2020
While many suppliers have come forward, the prices they have been asking are complete profiteering, De Jonge told MPs in a briefing.
Private individuals are being urged to give any face masks they may have to the red cross.
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