All of the Netherlands at Red on EU Covid warning map
This article was updated when the ECDC released its map and dataset.
The whole of the Netherlands is now red on the European map of coronavirus risk levels. Red is the second highest warning level. Noord-Holland, Zuid-Holland and Flevoland were already that color. The other nine provinces went from orange up to red, according to the latest map published by the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC).
The Netherlands was completely red or dark red, the worst level, between July 15 and August 11, a day before some provinces first went orange. Countries use the ECDC map to determine their policies. When the Netherlands turned dark red in July, this prompted countries such as Germany and France to introduce stricter rules for Netherlands residents who wanted to cross the border.
The latest change is because the percentage of people testing positive for coronavirus increased. The figure is calculated over a two week period. The positivity rate in data submitted by the Ministry of Health to the ECDC over the past two weeks showed that 4.4 percent of all tests performed revealed an infection. Last week the data put the rate at 3.5 percent.
Most provinces had between 75 and 200 positive tests for every 100,000 residents in the past two weeks. If more than 4 percent of all tests are positive, the provinces will go from orange to red, even if the number of positive tests remains stable. If the Netherlands had stayed below the 4 percent limit, only Friesland and Overijssel would have gone from orange to red.
The increase in the percentage of positive tests may be related to the end of the summer holidays. More than 13 percent of those tested at sites operated by the GGD public health services diagnosed an infection. People mainly schedule that service when they have symptoms of Covid-19 or because they have had contact with someone who turned out to be infected. Commercial test facilities are conducting fewer and fewer coronavirus access tests needed for travel. About one half of one percent of those tests were positive, which brought down the national positivity rate. If those travel-related tests are not carried out, then the positivity rate will submitted to the ECDC will likely rise.
The warning color also went up in neighboring countries. The Flanders region of Belgium went from orange to red, just like the German state of Lower Saxony, which borders Groningen, Drenthe and Overijssel. Other German states such as North Rhine-Westphalia, Bavaria and Berlin remained at red. Wallonia, Belgium, also stayed red.
Not much has changed in other countries. For the first time in weeks, a region in Spain was not at one of the two highest levels. The northern region of Asturias dropped from red to orange. The Italian region of Lazio, where Rome is located, went from orange to red. On the Greek mainland, a few areas turned dark red. Crete remained at that color.
Central Europe was almost completely green. Countries such as Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary disclosed the lowest number of positive tests.
The coronavirus map is produced every Thursday by ECDC. The service looks at the number of confirmed infections and the percentage of positive tests in the two previous calendar weeks. The card has four colors. In order from best to worst, they are green, orange, red and dark red.
Reporting by ANP