More social restrictions on the table as new Dutch infections top 1,100, Most since Apr. 18
A continuing rise in new coronavirus infections is a definite cause for concern, said Public Health Minister Hugo de Jonge when he revealed that 1,140 more people have tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus. It was the most new infections recorded in a single day since April 18, when the same amount of infections were tallied, and the ninth highest total in a 24-hour period since the pandemic began.
The rising infections could lead to more local restrictions, particularly in Amsterdam and Rotterdam. If new infections cannot be brought down, De Jonge said it could lead to a return of its national intelligent lockdown strategy.
"It is not going in the right direction," De Jonge said during an online town hall session. "We are now seeing the numbers rising. The number is much higher than yesterday and the day before yesterday. Actually, this is the highest number in months."
Together with Prime Minister Mark Rutte, he fielded questions about coronavirus policy from the public. "There is cause for concern, especially in Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam," De Jonge said. The two said that Rotterdam and Amsterdam are again looking into what additional social distancing measures and restrictions can be put in place to slow the spread of the virus.
"If those measures do not help, then you will end up with measures like what we had to take in the Spring," he said, referring to the strictest period of the "intelligent lockdown" strategy that the Netherlands implemented. He said he hoped there was no need for national measures again, because they have a much clearer idea of where new infections are now than at the beginning of the crisis. "So we can also implement measures more precisely. We are now trying to do that," De Jonge said.
"So: these large cities are now working to figure out exactly where the problem lies and what measures we should take. We will do this as locally as possible, so we do not have to return to a national lockdown."
He also said that the three-day rolling average of hospitalizations for Covid-19 has started to rise, with an average of 7.7 admissions per day. That means that 23 people have been hospitalized with the coronavirus disease between Sunday and Tuesday.
The total number of hospital cases was still quite low compared to the spring. Also, just a few thousand people were being tested for the virus back in April, whereas around 180 thousand people were tested last week.