Weekly coronavirus infections drop 46% with 13.6% testing positive
Coronavirus infections in the Netherlands plunged by 46 percent during the seven-day period ending Tuesday morning, when compared to the previous week. A total of 37,343 people tested positive for the infection, including just over four thousand on the final day, the first reported weekly decrease after a staggering growth in infections this month.
It pushed the national per capita infection rate down to 215 infections per 100 thousand inhabitants for the week. Provinces of the Netherlands need to demonstrate per capita infections of fewer than 500 aggregated over a two-week period to be taken off the European Union's list of areas at the greatest risk for the coronavirus infection. Seven provinces are currently at that highest risk level, with some indications that several could be removed from the list later this week.
The weekly total of over 37 thousand infections was still nearly eight times higher than the week ending June 30, a day before the start of the July Delta variant surge. Most coronavirus restrictions in the Netherlands were released on June 26 including the face mask mandate for public indoor spaces. A small package of restrictions were restored, which heavily impacted bars, nightclubs, and the events sector, and also forced cafes and restaurants to close by midnight.
"You now see that that package, which we had to unfortunately tighten then, is now, fortunately, leading to a sharp decrease in the number of infections," said Prime Minister Mark Rutte during a brief press conference on Monday.
This week resulted in July's first confirmed reduction in the rate in which people who self-reported to the GGD for a test were diagnosed with the coronavirus infection. "The proportion of tests with a positive result at the GGD test sites fell from 15.4% to 13.6%," the RIVM said. Those figures exclude people who were tested for the purpose of going on vacation, of which just 0.7 percent tested positive last week.
Over 259 thousand people scheduled a coronavirus test with the GGD, a decrease of 38 percent not including travel-related tests. Over 414 thousand were tested just to try to demonstrate that they can travel safely to another country.
The RIVM also said that the basic reproduction (R) number of the virus was also slashed from 1.75 down to 0.80. That means that 100 contagious people infected 80 others, based on the most accurate information on July 12.
The decrease was seen in all regions of the country, but not all age groups: only those in the age brackets from 13 to 59 saw a decline. "The number of reports dropped sharply (-64%), especially in the 18-24 age group," the RIVM stated. There were slight increases in most other age brackets, but per capita infections of 80 year old people nearly doubled.
Nearly 166 thousand people tested positive for the coronavirus infection during all of July. Out of the 134 thousand people who tested positive and whose vaccination status was known, 11 percent were fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and 16 percent were at least partially vaccinated against the disease.
People in the Netherlands have tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 infection 1,851,329 times since the start of the pandemic.