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Sunday December 5th, 2021 5:46PM

Dutch COVID infections hit weekly record; Hospitals stressed

By The Associated Press
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THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Dutch coronavirus infection numbers hit a new weekly record Tuesday, climbing 39% while hospital and intensive care unit admissions also rose sharply, the country's public health institute reported.

The latest report on a surge in COVID-19 cases came a day after the Dutch government introduced legislation to parliament that would clear the way to restrict access for unvaccinated people to venues such as bars, restaurants and museums if infections keep rising.

The legislation would limit the country's COVID-19 pass system to people who are fully vaccinated or have recovered from a coronavirus infection. It would mean that people could no longer get the pass with negative tests.

The policy “protects unvaccinated people against infection, illness and hospital admission in high-risk locations,” the government said. The legislation is expected to be debated by lawmakers next week.

A protest Friday against the COVID-19 pass system in Rotterdam degenerated into violence that led to police officers opening fire on rioters.

Children under 12 had the highest proportion of positive tests in the week up to Tuesday. The European Union's drug regulator is expected to issue a decision later this week on a request by Pfizer and BioNTech to approve their COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 11.

A panel of experts that advises the Dutch government on the virus urged people this week to improve basic measures such as social distancing and mask wearing, saying that many people are not adhering to a partial lockdown introduced more than a week ago.

According to the new government figures, hospital admissions rose 19% over the last week while admissions to intensive care units climbed 26%. The health institute said 265 people were confirmed to have died of COVID-19 last week, raising the confirmed pandemic death toll in the Netherlands above 19,000.

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Follow all AP stories on the pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.

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