AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch authorities warned on Tuesday that social distancing measures must remain in place despite a sharp fall in coronavirus cases, as hospitals remain under pressure due to heavy numbers of COVID-19 patients.
The National Institute for Health on Tuesday reported 43,621 cases in the week through Nov. 10, a decline of more than 30% from the previous week. Deaths increased to 565 from 435.
Justice Minister Ferd Grapperhaus said it was too soon to discuss relaxing rules from the country’s second partial lockdown, which began on Oct. 13.
“I think we have to realise that we as a society still have to make sure that we get much further into the green zone,” Grapperhaus said after a meeting with regional health and safety officials.
New daily cases in the Netherlands peaked at 11,119 on Oct. 30. Prime Minister Mark Rutte is to address the public later on Tuesday about whether further lockdown measures are needed beyond a current ban on public gatherings of more than three people.
Space in hospitals remains scarce but stable after the October surge in infections, with nearly half of intensive care beds now being used for COVID-19 patients.
Hospitals in the Netherlands have scaled back on regular care since mid-October.
Reporting by Toby Sterling, editing by Ed Osmond
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