The Netherlands ended almost all COVID-19 restrictions on Sept. 25, including an end to social distancing. At the same time, the government mandated use of coronavirus health passes to get into bars, restaurants, cinemas and other public venues.

The Dutch government is seeking advice from a panel of experts on whether it needs to reintroduce COVID-19 restrictions amid sharply rising infection rates, the health minister said Monday.

The Netherlands has one of the fastest-rising infection rates in Europe. The 7-day rolling average of daily new cases increased over the past two weeks from 13.43 new cases per 100,000 people to 29.27 new cases per 100,000 people on Oct. 24.

“It’s just going too fast. We have to face up to the fact that the numbers are rising faster and sooner than expected,” Health Minister Hugo De Jonge told reporters in The Hague. He said hospital admissions also are rising faster than anticipated when the government relaxed its lockdown last month.

“The Cabinet will have to think about extra measures,” he said.

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