The Netherlands began transporting COVID-19 patients across the border to Germany on Tuesday to relieve pressure on Dutch hospitals dealing with a surge in coronavirus cases.
On Tuesday morning, an ambulance transported a patient from Rotterdam to a hospital in Bochum, about 240 kilometers (150 miles) east, and another would follow later in the day, according to health officials.
In recent weeks, the number of COVID-19 patients in Dutch hospitals has risen to its highest level since May, and this figure is expected to rise further as infections reach record levels.
After treating dozens of patients during previous waves of the pandemic, German hospitals have offered a total of 20 beds to patients from the Netherlands.
The Dutch government’s plans to impose additional restrictions to contain the virus sparked three nights of rioting beginning on Friday and resulted in more than 170 arrests across the country. more info
There are plans to restrict access to many public places to people who have been vaccinated or have recently recovered from COVID-19, but it is unclear whether the government will find a majority to make them law.
As of Monday, 470 of the Netherlands’ total 1,050 intensive care beds were being used for COVID-19 patients, and hospitals are already reducing regular care, such as cancer treatments and heart operations, to make room for coronavirus cases.