Dutch to detail new COVID curbs on Friday as cases surge

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FILE PHOTO: People walk past restaurants and bars in Amsterdam.

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) -The Dutch government will announce new measures on Friday to tackle a surge in coronavirus infections that is 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, new cases hit a record high of 23,709 in 24 hours on Wednesday, official data showed.

Weekly figures released on Tuesday had already shown an almost 40% rise in cases in the past week.

"The infection rate is higher than ever before," De Jonge said in a letter to parliament. "Hospital admissions keep exceeding expectations and we have not seen the worst yet."

He said the government's panel of health experts would provide fresh policy advice by Thursday and that a decision would follow on Friday.

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

After ending most social distancing measures in late September, the Dutch government this month reintroduced mask-wearing and reimposed a partial lockdown https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/netherlands-impose-partial-lockdown-halt-covid-19-surge-media-2021-11-12, with bars and restaurants closing at 8 p.m. (1900 GMT)

Plans to restrict access to many public places to people who have been vaccinated or have recently recovered from COVID-19 prompted three nights of rioting https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/dutch-pm-lashes-out-idiots-after-third-night-violence-2021-11-22 from last Friday and more than 170 people were arrested across the country.

(Reporting by Bart Meijer: Editing by Gareth Jones and Alexander Smith)