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COVID drives Dutch death rate up to highest level since WWII

FILE PHOTO: A member of the medical personnel wearing a full protective suit works in the intensive care unit at Maastricht UMC+ Hospital, where patients suffering from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are treated, in Maastricht, Netherlands, November 10, 2020. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw reuters_tickers
This content was published on December 29, 2020 - 09:39

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The number of deaths in the Netherlands increased at the highest rate since World War Two this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Dutch national statistics office (CBS) said on Tuesday.

Up to last week, around 162,000 deaths were reported in the country of 17 million this year, 13,000 more than would have been expected in a regular year, the CBS said.

"Such an increase of the number of deceased has not been reported since World War Two," it said.

Around 9,000 people more than normal died during the first wave of the COVID-19 infections between early March and early May, the CBS said, while more than 6,000 extra fatalities have been reported since the start of the second wave mid-September.

The number of deaths was lower than normal in most other weeks, the statisticians said.

A total of 770,400 people in the Netherlands have tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. More than 11,000 patients are known to have died from the disease.

The actual number of infections and fatalities is likely to be significantly higher, as a shortage of testing and lab capacity meant only seriously ill patients were tested during the first months of the pandemic.

(Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Peter Graff)

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