The number of coronavirus infections in the Netherlands has doubled every two weeks since early July, causing experts to warn that the country could experience a full-blown second wave by mid-September.
The surge in cases has prompted Finland and the three Baltic countries — Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — to tell their citizens not to travel to the Netherlands because of the increasing rate of infections. Britain is now requiring those coming from the Netherlands to quarantine for 14 days.
The country currently has 62,406 confirmed cases and 6,187 deaths, according to a New York Times database. But, a leading Dutch expert has said the rise continues at the rate its going, by the fall the Netherlands could have 250,000 infections and about 4,000 hospitalized patients. That would be roughly similar to the first virus peak in April.
“We are seeing the number of infected persons first rising gradually, but picking up speed as time passes,” Ernst Kuipers, who leads the Dutch National Network for Intensive Care, told the current affairs show “Nieuwsuur” on Thursday. “Numbers are now doubling every two weeks from July 10th,” he said. In the seven days from Aug. 5-11, 4,036 new case were counted, a 56 percent increase compared to the week before, the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment announced.
The Netherlands has no countrywide mask mandate, though some places in Amsterdam and Rotterdam have recently implemented rules for specific locations, and masks are required on public transportation. There is no requirement for quarantine upon arrival in the Netherlands, but those traveling from places with higher virus numbers are “urged” to quarantine.
A walk-through testing center has been set up at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport for passengers from high-risk countries, but many are not taking the optional tests, according to the newspaper De Volkskrant.
Over 60 percent of all new infections are in people under 40. While they usually aren’t hospitalized, Mr. Kuipers warned that the young often flaunt the Dutch rules on social distancing and are potentially infecting older people.