Dutch coronavirus cases jump 44% as hospitals feel strain

Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on the Rhodes island
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AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - New coronavirus infections in the Netherlands jumped 44% in the week through Tuesday, forcing several hospitals in the country to cut back on regular care to deal with a rising number of COVID-19 cases.

Infections reached their highest level since the end of July at 25,751, official data showed, rising for the third consecutive week following the easing of many social distancing measures in the Netherlands last month.

Some 48 COVID-19 deaths were recorded, twice as many as in the previous week.

Hospital admissions in the country of 17.5 million increased by one-fifth from a week earlier and are now back at the level of early September.

That has forced several hospitals to cancel regular care, by postponing planned operations or by limiting surgery to the most serious cases, mainly in regions where vaccination rates are low.

"Most of those in hospital with COVID-19 have not been vaccinated," the Dutch Institute for Public Health said on Tuesday. "At intensive care units this is the case for 4 out 5 patients."

According to government data, 83% of the Dutch adult population has been fully vaccinated.

The Dutch government eased most COVID-19 restrictions on Sept. 25 and introduced a "corona pass" showing proof of vaccination for visitors to bars, restaurants, clubs or cultural events.

(Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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