The number of new coronavirus infections soared by 7,425 in the 24 hours to Friday morning, public health institute RIVM has confirmed.
Friday’s increase is up 1,238 on Thursday and the highest number since January 8. The number of new cases has hovered between 5,000 and 6,000 for the past week, when infections began to rise again.
The rise was leaked earlier by justice minister Ferd Grapperhaus after the weekly cabinet meeting. The crucial R factor – the number of people that each 100 coronavirus patients infects – has risen to 114, he said.
‘We really have to be on our guard,’ the minister told reporters.
Ministers will this weekend discuss options to further relax the coronavirus measures ahead of Tuesday’s press conference, although the rising number of cases makes that now unlikely.
Nevertheless, D66 leader Sigrid Kaag said she would like to see the curfew scrapped as soon as possible, given that the Netherlands moves to summer time next weekend and it will remain light for longer.
This, she said, will make it even more difficult for youngsters in particular to stick to the 9pm deadline.
The number of hospital patients is also rising as more patients are admitted to hospital. In total, 283 new patients were admitted since Thursday morning, the highest number since January 19.
That means 2,041 people are now being treated in hospital for the virus, the highest figure since February 5. Of them, 579 are being treated in intensive care. The number of intensive care patients has varied between 550 and 600 for the past 10 days.
Health minister Hugo de Jonge also confirmed on Friday that two million vaccinations have now been given in the Netherlands, and that by the start of next month, the figure should be around three million.
The Netherlands began its vaccination programme on January 6, as the last country in the EU.
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