Holland becomes one of the most sought-after hotspots in the world after refusing to put in place rules on face masks and its testing system failing to meet requirements
- The per capita infection rate in Holland is one of the ten countries in the world
- In some cases, Spike has the country's testing system on its heels
- Today Parliament debated whether to make masks mandatory in public places
- Prime Minister Mark Rutte said a country that requires such a rule is "childish".
Holland has become one of the world's coronavirus hotspots after refusing to put in place face mask rules and its test system failing to meet requirements.
Over the past month, a surge in new cases has catapulted the per capita infection rate into the top 10 in the world, with a weekly infection rate of around 160 per 100,000 people.
On Wednesday, the Dutch parliament debated an emergency law that would give the government the power to make masks compulsory in public places if it so wishes, as the daily rate of new infections hit a new record high of almost 5,000.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte has repeatedly stated that he has no intention of forcing people to wear a mask – which the World Health Organization calls one of the main tools it can use to fight the virus – while his chief medical officer has publicly reiterated his claim that its usefulness is not proven.
People wear face masks as they walk through a shopping center in Rotterdam last week
Last month, a surge in new cases has catapulted the per capita infection rate in Holland into the top 10 in the world, with a weekly infection rate of around 160 per 100,000 people
Coronavirus cases in the Netherlands – the country has seen a second wave, although it is impossible to compare it to the first wave in spring because the testing capacity is so much higher
With most of Europe having the highest infection rates, it's important to note that the tests in the first wave were dwarfed by the tests in this "second wave" of the pandemic.
After the first wave of infections subsided in May, the Netherlands worked to increase testing capacity, promising it would be available to everyone.
The strategy was to find hotspots quickly and isolate people quickly to stop the contagion.
The laboratories said they had increased capacity by two thirds to 51,000 tests per day.
But last month, testing was again limited to people with serious health problems, and Rutte admitted that capacity was well below demand.
"We don't have our basic infrastructure in order," said health professor Jochen Mierau to Reuters.
"There is a shortage of tests while Germany has more than enough to test even people with no symptoms."
The Netherlands' much larger neighbor has also seen an increase in infections, but has so far kept the weekly increase at around 20 per 100,000.
But Germany not only has a greater test capacity.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte arrived in Brussels last week on the second day of a summit of European Union heads of state and government
Face masks have been mandatory in German stores since the summer, while the Dutch government decided just last week to recommend their use in indoor public spaces.
Despite a national poll in which two-thirds said their government should get tougher, Rutte responded Tuesday to a question about masks on television, saying, “Why should we have to force people? … What kind of childlike nation would that make us? We'll check it out if we have to, but I would regret it. & # 39;
He hoped the new guidelines on masks and earlier bar closings would prove their worth.
"The numbers don't look good," he said, "but we won't be able to see the effects of the new measures until this weekend."