Last updated 6 days ago by Michael Darmanin
The graph of coronavirus cases in the Netherlands is going up at a very fast rate. According to the latest data released by health institute RIVM on Saturday morning, 8,141 people reportedly infected with the virus creating a new Dutch record. The number is around 25% higher than the previous week, and about 2% higher than the previous record set a day earlier (7,989 cases).
On Tuesday, October 13, Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge addressed the country announcing a partial lockdown and additional measures to prevent the spread of the virus. The measures will be in place for four weeks for now, but the health minister said the complete lockdown will be unavoidable if these are infective or not followed.
Cases in Utrecht
On October 10, the virus risk was elevated to the most critical Level 3, or “serious,” for four security regions in the Netherlands, meaning the residents are at higher risk of being infected by the virus. The list included Utrecht among other cities. Mayor Peter Den Oudsten thereby announced stricter compliance with the rules in the city to prevent the spread of the virus.
According to reports, the number of people infected in the city has considerably increased with 2,341 infections reported in the past week. In comparison, 1,525 cases were reported in the period between October 7 and October 13, 908 in the period from September 30 to October 6, while the number stood at 571 for the period between September 23 to September 29. However, no patient died in Utrecht due to the virus in the previous week.
Corona measures in Utrecht
The center of the city is a crowded place with people taking a stroll or visiting shops. But post the press conference by the prime minister, it will likely be a different scene with fewer visitors and some additional measures.
For instance, there is more space and a roundabout for pedestrians. The traffic light for them is green for longer to prevent a huge group of people waiting at the signal, thereby maintaining social distancing. A few other changes were made for pedestrian crossings, such as for those walking in the direction toward St. Jacobsstraat, to balance the flow of visitors at different spots. Some traffic measures have been fine-tuned, such as one-way traffic in the Bakkerstraat and Oudegracht on weekends, as that is the time when it is busiest.
Authorities have also advised cyclists not to park at certain spots, thereby making more space for pedestrians. At Potterstraat, all the bicycles parked along Post Utrecht were removed starting October to create more space for pedestrians. The cyclists are asked to use the parking facility under the former post office. The same was done at Ganzenmarkt, where signs are posted asking people to park inside the parking facility. Most of these measures were in place since May but were refined after the press conference.
The measures are dynamic as the city officials are continually updating and refining them. However, it is up to the visitors to adhere to them. Previously, the city officials encouraged people to visit the center on weekdays and not just on weekends.
Following the press conference, the restaurants, pubs, and cafés in the city are also closed. Here’s a list of all the measures announced by the prime minister recently.