World News

Dutch hospitals ask for German help to cope with COVID-19 surge

FILE PHOTO: People enjoy at restaurants and bars following the new social restrictions announced by the Dutch government, as the Netherlands battle to control the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Nijmegen, Netherlands October 14 2020. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw/File Photo

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Hospitals in the Netherlands on Thursday said they would ask their German counterparts to take patients after the number of those hospitalised with coronavirus doubled in the past week, to 1,526.

“We are about to ask for the transfer of patients to hospitals in Germany again”, the head of the Dutch hospital association LNAZ told reporters.

The Netherlands has entered another partial lockdown after becoming one of Europe’s hotbeds for new infections with numbers reaching record levels almost every day since mid-September and the total doubling within three weeks.

The surge has forced hospitals to scale back regular care, and seen some emergency wards close temporarily.

The Dutch government closed all bars and restaurants for at least four weeks from Wednesday evening, limited group sizes and ordered the wearing of cloth masks in indoor spaces.

Without these measures, more than 75% of regular care would have to be postponed by the end of November, the LNAZ warned earlier this week.

Dutch hospitals also transferred COVID-19 patients to Germany during the first wave of the virus.

Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Alexandra Hudson