Wednesday 27 January 2021

Positive coronavirus tests show no slowdown, caution is needed, Rutte says

A coronavirus protestor outside parliament. Photo: DutchNews.nl

The government’s team of coronavirus experts are currently looking at various options for further reducing the spread of Covid-19 but the figures as they now stand require caution, prime minister Mark Rutte said at his weekly press conference on Friday.

Almost 6,000 positive coronavirus tests were registered with the public health institute RIVM in the 24 hours to 10am on Friday, well above the 5,000 average recorded in the past week.

In total, the RIVM received 5,935 new coronavirus registrations up over 300 on Thursday and further emphasising that the downward trend appears to have halted.

The trend is similar across much of Europe, Rutte said. In Germany, for example, where cafes and bars are shut as they are in the Netherlands, the figures have also plateaued, Rutte said.

Rutte and health minister Hugo de Jonge will hold a press conference on Tuesday to outline what has been decided can be done ahead of the Christmas break. One option under consideration is an extension of the two week school Christmas holidays, the prime minister said.

Asked if the Netherlands was considering introducing border controls for the holiday period, as Austria has done, Rutte said: ‘Our strong recommendation is not to go abroad unless it is strictly necessary.’

Hospitalisations

Overnight, 189 people were admitted to hospital, 36 more than on Thursday, and 28 people were sent on to intensive care. In total, 1,625 people are currently hospitalised with coronavirus, of whom 473 are on an IC ward.

The number of coronavirus-related deaths has averaged 51 a day over the past seven days, compared with 63 per day in the previous seven day period. However, the latest excess death rate published by national statistics agency CBS indicates more people have died from the effects of coronavirus than the official figures show.

Last week, the CBS recorded 3,450 deaths, some 400 more than would have been expected for the time of year.

The CBS says that over 10,000 people actually died from coronavirus up to the end of June, some 4,000 more than the RIVM figures indicate.

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