Stretched Dutch hospitals to send COVID patients to Germany within days

FILE PHOTO: A man rides his bicycle past 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 Amsterdam, Netherlands October 14 2020. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The Dutch hospital system is coming under increasing strain from coronavirus admissions as daily cases hit a record high, and it expects to begin transferring some patients to Germany within two days, the hospital association said on Thursday.

Almost half the country’s intensive care beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients, the LNAZ association’s head Ernst Kuipers said.

“And we certainly have not seen the end of it”, he told reporters. “Hospital numbers will continue to rise at least until the end of this month.”

The number of daily infections hit 9,271 on Thursday, the National Institute for Public Health (RIVM) said.

The government imposed partial lockdown measures to contain the spread on Oct 14, including the closure of all bars and restaurants in the country.

Reporting by Anthony Deutsch and Bart Meijer; Editing by Mark Potter and John Stonestreet