Weekly Dutch Covid infections down for the first time since July
An analysis of coronavirus infection figures from the week ending at 10 a.m. on Tuesday showed a drop in the number of new infections, a decrease in the percentage of people who tested positive for the virus, and a fall in the basic reproduction (R) number compared to data from the week before. The three are key indicators affecting the Cabinet's policy on social restrictions in the Netherlands to combat the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, with Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge set to update the public during a Tuesday night press conference that could introduce tighter restrictions to accelerate the recent improvements.
The number of new infections fell by five percent compared to the previous week, with 64,087 people testing positive for the viral infection. "Especially in the last few days we saw a lower number of [positive] reports," the RIVM said. "That seems to be an effect of the measures that came into effect at the end of September and mid-October."
Out of the 99 percent whose tests were processed last week, 16.6 percent were diagnosed with the viral infection. That was down from 18.4 percent the week prior. It was the first time since July that the rate of those testing positive showed a decrease. Some 295,147 people in total self-reported to municipal health service GGD for a coronavirus test during the week, a decrease of 26,500.
"The largest decrease in the number of new reports was visible in the regions of Amsterdam-Amstelland and Hollands-Midden; Compared to the week before, the number of reports decreased by at least 20%," the RIVM said in a statement. "The regions with the highest number of reports per 100,000 inhabitants were Rotterdam-Rijnmond, Zuid-Holland-Zuid and Midden- en West-Brabant, these regions had more than 500 reports per 100,000 inhabitants."
The per-capita rate of infection was also a critical number monitored by the RIVM, the Outbreak Management Team, and the Dutch Cabinet in establishing the government's response to the crisis. In most regions, the percentage of those testing positive showed improvement.
Another key figure, the R-Number, showed a drop from 1.16 to an estimated 1.11. That means that a hundred contagious people will infect approximately 111 others. There were an estimated 166 thousand people contagious with the virus in the Netherlands, the RIVM said on Tuesday, roughly four percent more than a week ago.
Deaths attributed to Covid-19 rose again, the RIVM said. The number of coronavirus cases with a fatal outcome over the seven-day period analyzed by the RIVM went up to 435 from 329, a 32-percent increase.
While hospitalizations for the coronavirus disease went up, new intensive care admissions actually fell, the RIVM said using data from nonprofit organization NICE. An estimated 1,966 people were admitted to regular care hospital departments, a 13-percent increase. Intensive care units took on 321 patients during that weeklong period, down from 333.
For the sixth consecutive week, the number of people testing positive for the SARS-CoV-2 infection within two weeks of arriving in the Netherlands also went up. Some 1,022 travelers were diagnosed with the infection, up nearly ten percent. The most frequented destinations were Germany (184), Belgium (173) and Turkey (101).
Rutte and De Jonge were expected to caution people against traveling during the winter holiday period, as part of their press conference on Tuesday.