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Netherlands to impose new coronavirus curbs as infections jump

FILE PHOTO: People walk past restaurants and bars in Amsterdam, Netherlands October 14 2020. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – The Netherlands will impose new coronavirus restrictions this week in a bid to curb a recent surge in infections, health minister Hugo de Jonge said on Monday.

“We can’t escape having to take new measures”, De Jonge said. “The number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals is rising fast.”

De Jonge did not give details of the new measures, which he said would be decided on Tuesday. Broadcaster NOS said the government was likely to require face masks in many public places and broaden the use of a “corona pass” showing proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or recent negative coronavirus test.

Coronavirus infections in the Netherlands have been rising for a month, and reached their highest level since July in the past week. Cases on Monday were 45% higher than a week ago at 7,700. More than 1,200 COVID-19 patients were in hospital, the most in five months.

Many hospitals are cutting back on regular care again to make room for urgent COVID-19 cases.

Most coronavirus restrictions in the Netherlands were dropped on Sept. 25, as the “corona pass” was introduced as a requirement for visitors to bars, restaurants, clubs or cultural events.

Most coronavirus patients in hospital have not been vaccinated, Dutch health authorities said last week. According to government data, around 84% of the Dutch adult population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

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