THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The Dutch public health institute on Thursday announced the highest daily tally of new COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, as the government reportedly considered a limited lockdown to put the brakes on spiking infections.
The institute said it recorded 16,364 new positive tests in the 24 hours to 10 a.m., a rise of 3,688 over the previous day.
The soaring number of cases in this nation of 17.5 million comes despite more than 84% of the Dutch adult population being fully vaccinated.
Earlier Thursday, neighboring Germany also recorded a record daily number of positive cases. The Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s national disease control center, registered 50,196 new cases, up from 33,949 daily cases a week earlier.
Hospitals in the southern province of Limburg — the hardest-hit Dutch region — sounded the alarm earlier this week in a letter to the health ministry, saying: “We are heading straight for a healthcare blockage and the entire system is grinding to a standstill.”
They added that, “we are convinced that other parts of the Netherlands will soon follow.”
The caretaker Dutch government re-introduced the use of face masks in stores and other public locations over the weekend and Prime Minister Mark Rutte is scheduled to give a nationally televised press conference Friday evening to discuss possible new measures.
Dutch media reported Thursday that a panel of experts has advised the government to reintroduce some lockdown measures for two weeks in an attempt to slow the rate of infections. The panel’s advice was not immediately made public.
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