AMSTERDAM, NOVEMBER 2 (Reuters) – The Dutch government on Tuesday decided to reintroduce measures, including wearing face masks, with the aim of curbing the recent rise in COVID-19 infections, said Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
The use of a “corona passport” showing evidence of a COVID-19 vaccination or recent negative coronavirus test would be extended from Nov. 6 to public places, including museums, gyms and outdoor patios, Rutte said. .
Coronavirus infections in the Netherlands have risen for a month after most social distance measures were scrapped in late September, reaching their highest level since July in the past week.
This has forced many hospitals to cut back on general care to make room for acute COVID-19 cases.
At a televised press conference, Rutte called on all Dutch people, vaccinated and unvaccinated, to adhere to the basic rules of hygiene and to stay home if they had symptoms of a possible infection.
“Our own behavior is crucial, a very large part of our coronavirus policy depends on it,” the prime minister said.
Face masks will be reintroduced in stores and other public places, while people are advised to work from home for at least half the time.
The government may next week decide to extend the use of the corona passport to the workplace, Rutte said.
Dutch health authorities on Tuesday recommended COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for older adults. About 84% of the Dutch adult population has been vaccinated.
As of Tuesday, new infections had increased by almost 40% week-to-week to more than 300 infections per week. 100,000 people, and approached the peaks previously seen in July 2021 and in December and October 2020. read more
The strain on hospitals is an immediate concern, as the country’s National Institutes of Health said on Tuesday that admissions have risen by 31% in the past week, with unvaccinated patients accounting for the majority of admissions.
Among people who tested positive in the past month, about 52% say they were unvaccinated, while 45% say they were fully vaccinated, according to RIVM data.
Earlier Tuesday, the country’s health council recommended that fully vaccinated adults aged 60 and older should start getting a booster shot.
Rutte’s government routinely adopts council recommendations.
Reporting by Toby Sterling and Bart Meijer; Edited by Emelia Sithole-Matarise, Alistair Bell and Alex Richardson
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