Netherlands tops 10,000 coronavirus cases

Published: 06:49 PM, 29 Mar, 2020
Netherlands tops 10,000 coronavirus cases
Caption: An employee of a clothing store makes protective face masks in Rotterdam. AFP
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The number of confirmed novel coronavirus cases in the Netherlands passed the 10,000 mark on Sunday, the authorities said, as the country focuses on building up herd immunity rather than confining the population of 17 million.

A total of 771 people have died from the COVID-19 epidemic in the Netherlands and 10,866 have tested positive, the country's institute for public health and environment (RIVM) said.

The Dutch government has adopted a series of measures to fight the virus, but has decided so far not to force people to stay home. A review of the policy is due to be unveiled on Tuesday.

"The number of reported hospital admissions and the number of deceased patients appears to be increasing less rapidly than would be expected without measures in place," the institute said on its website.

"In a number of days, it can be concluded whether the number of hospital admissions and the number of deaths among reported patients is actually levelling off, and thus how well the measures are working."

More than two-thirds of the more than 31,000 deaths worldwide from coronavirus have now been recorded in Europe and the Netherlands has warned people will be put under confinement if the measures already taken do not work.

Schools, bars, restaurants, coffee houses and even brothels have been shut down since March 16, while school-leaving exams have been cancelled. All public gatherings and events now require official authorisation and social distancing of 1.5 metres (5 feet) has been imposed in shops and on public transport under threat of fines.

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