Coronavirus strikes hard in the second wave in the Netherlands

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8000 new infections within 24 hours were counted last. Many don’t seem to care – the parties have no end.

On Wednesday evening in The Hague, while the members of parliament debated the grim reality, hundreds of people were bawling, drinking and dancing in party tents on the square in front of the parliament building. Similar scenes were also reported from other cities.

It was probably a last dance: pubs, cafés and restaurants had to close for at least four weeks on October 14. And this behavior suits the Dutch, who like to measure the value of life by how “gezellig” it is. Tourists were already wondering in the summer months how relaxed the Dutch took the corona crisis. No sooner had the first “intelligent lockdown” on June 1 been over than normal life went back to normal. No masks, no controls, but crowded stores and bars.

Emergency rooms closed
In the meantime, the corona virus spread at lightning speed. Within 24 hours on Friday, almost 8000 new infections were reported – in a country with a population of 17 million. The situation in hospitals and intensive care units is threatening. There are already so many Covid-19 patients there that normal care for other patients is being cut back. Emergency rooms in large cities already have to be temporarily closed. There are too few beds and too few staff, and ambulances with patients are queuing outside the doors.

All alarm signals are on red. The situation is more threatening than in spring, Amsterdam virologist Hans Zaaijer told the newspaper De Telegraaf. “We are in the run-up to a catastrophe.”

To avert this, Prime Minister Mark Rutte imposed a “partial lockdown”. Among other things, restaurants are closed and a mask obligation is introduced.

Face masks became a symbol of fickle politics. The right-wing liberal prime minister considers them nonsense. “Masks are useless.” But at the beginning of the week he suddenly appeared himself with a “maskertje”, a “Mäskchen”, as he almost affectionately said. A signal for the citizens: Now it is getting serious.

— Hector Pascua with reports from kurier.at. Picture: stockilyapp.com

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