Dutch Covid figures improve by a third; Could go "orange" in EU next week
Some 5,714 people in the Netherlands tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus during the seven-day period ending at 10 a.m. on Tuesday. That was a 36 percent improvement compared to a week ago, public health institute RIVM said. If the infection figures remain consistent over the coming week, the Netherlands could be taken off the European Union's higher risk "red" level.
Out of the 5,714 who tested positive, 299 were in either Spain or Portugal within two weeks of their diagnosis. At the end of last week, the GGD health service branch in Amsterdam began sending out letters to young people who took a graduation trip to one of the two countries out of concern for the highly contagious delta variant. Visitors returning from there were responsible for 3.6 percent of infections in the Netherlands during the week ending June 15.
That percentage rose to 5.2 percent during the previous seven days, despite the decrease in the number of cases. In total 471 recent travelers tested positive, with Belgium (26), Germany (17) and Greece (14) the other top destinations mentioned. Though coronavirus restrictions in the Netherlands will be relaxed starting this weekend, the delta variant could lead to new restrictions after the summer.
Only 133,336 people scheduled their own coronavirus test last week, down 19 percent to the lowest total since the second week of August. Those tested by the GGD were given a positive diagnosis of 4.3 percent, which improved from 5.2 percent.
From Code Red to Orange possible in a week
This week, 34 people tested positive per 100 thousand residents. Should that hold for another week, it will be low enough to downgrade the Netherlands from red to orange on the European Union's evaluation of Member States even if the positivity rate remains above four percent.
The Netherlands is currently the only EU country entirely at the red level, the second worst on a scale of four. "And sometime in the coming weeks, the infection risk in our country is expected to drop to [orange] and then hopefully to green. But know that as long as the Netherlands is not green, some countries will set requirements for Dutch residents who enter," Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said in a press conference on Friday.
The total number of people who test positive over a two-week period will have to be below 8,750 in total, or 50 per capita, to achieve the green level, which is the lowest risk group. In addition, the positivity rate for that period will have to be below 3.9 percent.
De Jonge said he expected this to happen in early July.
There were just over 26 thousand people contagious with the disease in the Netherlands on June 14. A week early, it was modeled that 100 contagious people would infect about 77 others. The number of contagious people fell by over a third, but the reproduction value was virtually unchanged.
Hospitalizations down another 35 percent
"The number of new patients who had to be hospitalized with COVID-19 has decreased by 35 percent," the RIVM acknowledged. A total of 160 people were admitted for treatment of the coronavirus disease, and ICU admissions fell by 26 percent to 32 in total.
To date, people have tested positive for the infection 1,680,228 times. The RIVM has learned of 17,730 deaths caused by Covid-19, though at least 11 thousand more were reported to the CBS according to data released last week through the end of February.
Some 12,823 people have required treatment in intensive care for the disease, with a survival rate of 72 percent. About 57,777 have been treated in nursing wards, with a survival rate of 87 percent, according to nonprofit hospital monitor NICE.