Wednesday 21 April 2021

Sharp rise in new coronavirus cases, officials close overcrowded Amsterdam park

Crowds gather at the Vondelpark on Wednesday. Photo:

Public health institute RIVM recorded 5,048 new cases of coronavirus in the 24 hours to Thursday morning, almost 600 above the weekly average and the biggest daily increase in a month.

The number of positive tests has been rising in recent days and was up 19% in the seven days to Tuesday, prompting the RIVM to talk of a ‘third wave’.

The number of hospital patients also rose overnight by 225, up 54 on Wednesday’s increase. Of them, 29 people were admitted to intensive care, where 526 coronavirus patients are currently being treated.

Amsterdam city council on Thursday afternoon closed off the city’s central Vondelpark because of the crowds flocking to take advantage of the early spring sunshine.

Earlier officials decided to lock most of the entrances to the park in an effort to improve control, but eyewitnesses in the neighbourhood told people were climbing over the fences. They also reported a heavy police presence in the locality.

The park was cleared by police on Wednesday after an impromptu party took place and two people were arrested.

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