Hospitals in the southern Dutch 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 blockage and the entire system is grinding to a standstill,” five hospitals in the border province said.
“We are convinced that other parts of the Netherlands will soon follow,” they added in a statement.
Amid an autumn surge across much of Europe, the seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in the Netherlands has almost doubled over the past two weeks.
The caretaker Dutch government last week reintroduced an order to wear face masks in public places.
The administration is scheduled to meet again Friday to discuss possible further measures if the soaring numbers do not ease.
Record number of deaths in Bulgaria and Russia
On Tuesday, Bulgaria reported that a record 334 people have died of the coronavirus in the previous 24 hours.
Official data also showed that over 8,500 people were in hospital including 734 in intensive care units.
Meanwhile, Russia also reported a new record of COVID-19 deaths, despite ending a nine-day non-working period.
The country’s state coronavirus task force reported 1,211 new deaths on Tuesday, the highest daily death toll in the pandemic.
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered many Russians last month to stay off work, but only five regions have extended the order beyond last weekend.
The daily tallies of new cases and COVID-19 deaths remained high throughout the non-working period. Officials in the Kremlin argued Monday that it was too early to tell whether the measure had the desired effect.
Hospitals struggle in Romania and Ukraine amid vaccine hesitancy
In Romania, the bodies of COVID-19 victims, wrapped in black plastic bags, line the hallway of a Bucharest hospital.
While authorities have tightened restrictions and made COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for various activities, doctors warn they remain overwhelming. Officials announced on 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 blamed the soaring deaths on the low vaccination rate in Romania where about 40% of the population has been fully vaccinated — far lower than the European Union’s average of 75%.
Ukraine also hit another record for daily coronavirus deaths amid a spike in infections fueled by public reluctance to get a vaccine.
The country’s Health Ministry reported 833 coronavirus deaths on Tuesday, surpassing the previous high of 793 over the weekend
Although four vaccines are available in Ukraine — Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Sinovac — only 18% of the population has been fully vaccinated.
In an effort to speed up vaccine uptake, the authorities said teachers, government employees, and other workers would have their salaries suspended if they were not fully vaccinated by Monday
On Tuesday, the government also ordered workers of state-controlled companies, including railways and the postal service, as well as social workers to get vaccinated by December 1.