Sunday, May 28

COVID-19: Dutch hospitals sound alarm as Eastern European reports record daily deaths

Hospitals in the southern Netherlands province of Limburg warned the government on Tuesday that they can no longer cope with new COVID-19 patients.

“We are heading straight for a healthcare blockade and the entire system is coming to a standstill,” said five hospitals in the border province.

“We are convinced that other parts of the Netherlands will soon follow,” they added in a statement.

Amid a surge across much of Europe, the seven-day moving average of daily new cases in the Netherlands has nearly doubled in the past two weeks.

The Dutch interim government last week reintroduced the order to wear masks in public places.

The administration is scheduled to meet again on Friday to discuss possible additional measures if the rising numbers do not diminish.

Record number of deaths in Bulgaria and Russia

On Tuesday, Bulgaria reported that a record 334 people died from the coronavirus in the past 24 hours.

Official data also showed that more than 8,500 people were hospitalized, including 734 in intensive care units.

Meanwhile, Russia also reported a new record for deaths from COVID-19, despite ending a nine-day inactivity period.

The country’s state coronavirus task force reported 1,211 new deaths on Tuesday, the highest daily death toll from the pandemic.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered many Russians last month not to work, but only five regions have extended the order beyond last weekend.

Daily counts of new cases and deaths from COVID-19 remained high during the non-working period. Kremlin officials argued Monday that it was too early to say whether the move had the desired effect.

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Hospitals Struggle in Romania and Ukraine Amid Vaccine Doubts

In Romania, the bodies of COVID-19 victims, wrapped in black plastic bags, line the corridor of a Bucharest hospital.

While authorities have tightened restrictions and made COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for various activities, doctors warn that they remain overwhelming. Authorities announced Tuesday that 487 COVID-19 patients had died in the previous 24 hours.

Last month, the World Health Organization (WHO) sent a team to help with the nation’s pandemic response.

Experts have attributed the increase in deaths to the low vaccination rate in Romania, where around 40% of the population has been fully vaccinated, well below the European Union average of 75%.

Ukraine also hit another record for daily coronavirus deaths amid a surge in infections fueled by the public’s reluctance to get vaccinated.

The country’s Health Ministry reported 833 deaths from coronavirus on Tuesday, topping the previous high of 793 over the weekend.

Although there are four vaccines available in Ukraine (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Sinovac), only 18% of the population has been fully vaccinated.

In an effort to speed up acceptance of the vaccine, authorities said the salaries of teachers, government employees and other workers would be suspended if they were not fully vaccinated by Monday.

On Tuesday, the government also ordered workers at state-controlled companies, including railroads and the postal service, as well as social workers, to get vaccinated before Dec. 1.

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