Friday 26 February 2021

Fewer positive coronavirus tests, but new variant total hits 200

Photo: Depositphotos.com

Public health institute RIVM reported 5,360 new coronavirus infections in the 24 hours to Saturday morning, down over 700 on Friday’s total and below the average for the past seven days.

The number of coronavirus patients in hospital also continues to decline, dropping to 2,365 on Saturday morning, of whom 671 are in intensive care.

However, new cases of the highly-infectious variant of the virus first identified in Britain have been found in a hospital in Goes in Zeeland and at a care home for the physically disabled in Gelderland.

In total, just over 200 cases of the B-117 variant of the virus are now known in the Netherlands, the AD reported on Saturday.

One source told the paper that a direct link with Britain has only been found in a small proportion of the cases, giving rise to fears that it is already spreading more quickly in the Netherlands.

Just one case of the so-called South African variant has been found in the Netherlands and no trace of the two other mutant strains identified in Brazil and Japan, the paper said.

Healthcare experts have already said they are extremely worried that the new strain may become the dominant one in the Netherlands, which would increase pressure on the healthcare system considerably.

Curfew

Acute care chief Ernst Kuipers is among those calling on the government to bring in new measures to further reduce social contact. A curfew is seen as the most effective of these but, the AD said, there is not yet a majority in parliament for such a far-reaching step.

The increase in the number of B-117 cases is also making it unlikely that primary schools will be able to reopen on January 25 as the government has suggested might be the case.

According to broadcaster NOS on Saturday, government advisors in the Outbreak Management Team have recommended against reopening schools and that the issue will be discussed by ministers on Sunday.

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