The Dutch will impose stricter COVID-19 restrictions on Friday

People walk past restaurants and bars as the Netherlands fights to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Amsterdam, Netherlands Oct. 14, 2020. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw

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AMSTERDAM, Nov 24 (Reuters) – The Dutch government will announce new measures on Friday to counter a record wave of coronavirus infections that are putting pressure on hospitals, Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said.

Although some 85% of the adult Dutch population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the number of new cases has increased by almost 40% in the past week to 154,000, official data showed on Tuesday.

“The infection rate is higher than ever,” De Jonge said in a letter to parliament on Wednesday. “Hospital admissions continue to exceed expectations and we haven’t seen the worst yet.”

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He said the government’s panel of health experts would issue new policy advice on Thursday and a decision would follow Friday.

The number of coronavirus patients in hospital has reached levels not seen since early May, and experts have warned that hospitals will reach full capacity in just over a week if the virus is not contained.

After the end of most social distancing measures at the end of September, the Dutch government reintroduced the wearing of masks this month and a partial closure, with bars and restaurants closing at 8pm but with no effect so far. read more

Plans to restrict access to many public places to people who have been vaccinated or recently recovered from COVID-19, prompted three nights of riotslast Friday and more than 170 people were arrested across the country. read more

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Report by Bart Meijer, editing by Gareth Jones

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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