People with and without protective masks on the street while shopping as the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in Amsterdam, Netherlands October 7, 2020. Photo: Reuters
The Dutch government is considering whether to impose Western Europe’s first partial lockdown since the summer, as new coronavirus cases jumped to the highest level since the start of the pandemic.
Reuters reports that a surge in infections that started when social distancing measures were lifted late September has put pressure on hospitals throughout the country, forcing them to scale back regular care to treat COVID-19 patients.
New coronavirus infections in the country of 17.5 million have roughly doubled in the last week and hit a record of around 16,300 in 24 hours on Thursday.
To contain the outbreak, the government’s pandemic advisory panel on Thursday recommended imposing a partial lockdown, shutting down theatres and cinemas, scrapping large events and closing cafes and restaurants earlier.
Caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s cabinet will discuss the advice during an emergency meeting on Thursday night, and will announce its decisions during a televised press conference scheduled for Friday 1800 GMT.