Dutch hospitals welcome military support
The Netherlands is drafting in soldiers to support hospitals as Covid cases surge, Agence France-Presse reports.
The UMC Utrecht hospital has opened a second care unit which can take patients with Covid-19 from across the region and is being helped by 50 members of the military with medical backgrounds.
“What we are try to do here is to increase the amount of nursing beds that we have for Covid patients,” Martin van Dijk, a Dutch military aid coordinator, told AFP.
“By that, the military tries to support the Dutch hospitals to make sure that no hospital has to say no to a patient, basically.”
This is the second time that the military has been sent in to help at the hospital in the city in the central Netherlands, with the first time being from October 2020 to June this year.
Covid cases in the nation have soared to record levels of more than 20,000 a day in the country of 17 million people.
The Dutch government has warned that hospitals are overstretched, with 2,143 Covid patients in hospital, including 611 in intensive care, accounting for 59% of all ICU beds, according to the latest figures.
France to shut nightclubs over Covid surge
Nightclubs in France will be ordered to close for four weeks from Friday to counter a Covid surge that has put hospitals under strain, the prime minister said on Monday.
“We will close the nightclubs for the next four weeks. This measure will apply from next Friday until the beginning of January,” Jean Castex, who emerged from quarantine last week after contracting the virus, said.
“We have all had a tendency to lower our guard” in recent weeks, he added.
“The situation demands an individual as well as a collective effort,” Castex said in a televised address.
A raft of new measures will be coming into force according to a statement from the ministry of health.
France has confirmed only 25 cases of the new Omicron variant but officials say the number could jump significantly in the coming weeks.
On Sunday, the health ministry reported more than 42,000 cases in the previous 24 hours, and more than 11,000 patients in hospital – the highest number since August – with 2,000 in intensive care.
Hello and welcome back to our coronavirus live blog.
I’m Samantha Lock and I’ll be taking you through all the latest Covid developments as they happen.
A leading infectious diseases specialist who monitors variants for a research collaboration led by Harvard Medical School believes the world is seeing “what appears to be a signal of exponential increase of Omicron over Delta.”
“It’s still early days, but increasingly, data is starting to trickle in, suggesting that Omicron is likely to outcompete Delta in many, if not all, places,” Dr Jacob Lemieux said in an interview with the Associated Press.
Others say it’s too soon to know how likely it is that Omicron will spread more efficiently than Delta, or, if it does, how fast it might take over.
“There’s still a lot of uncertainty … but when you put the early data together, you start to see a consistent picture emerge: that Omicron is already here, and based on what we’ve observed in South Africa, it’s likely to become the dominant strain in the coming weeks and months and will likely cause a surge in case numbers,” Lemieux added.
Meanwhile, nightclubs in France will be ordered to close for four weeks from Friday to counter a Covid surge that has put hospitals under strain.
Here’s everything you might have missed over the past few hours:
- New Covid restrictions are to be introduced in Norway after a recent increase in infections.
- Britain’s health minister said there is now community transmission of the Omicron variant across regions of England.
- The Czech government will order Covid-19 vaccinations for people working in hospitals and nursing homes as well as police officers, soldiers and some other professions and all citizens aged 60 and older.
- A new range of pandemic restrictions will be imposed in Poland this week.
- Italy tightened restrictions on people still not vaccinated, limiting their access to an array of places and services.
- Children in the Philippines’ capital Manila returned to school after a near two-year suspension.
- India’s cases of the Omicron variant rose to 21 over the weekend, officials said, while Nepal and Thailand detected their first cases.
- South Africa is preparing hospitals for more admissions, as the Omicron variant pushes the country into a fourth wave of infections.
- Austria’s general lockdown will end on 11 December for those who have been vaccinated.
- All private employers in New York City will have to mandate Covid-19 vaccinations for their workers.