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Dutch weigh stricter lockdown as COVID-19 cases jump

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FILE PHOTO: A member of medical staff takes coronavirus test samples during drive-thru coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing, on a converted ice rink, in Alkmaar, Netherlands April 8, 2020. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw/File Photo

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) -The Dutch government is set to decide on stricter measures to fight the coronavirus outbreak in the Netherlands on Monday, as the infection rate has climbed back to the peak levels reached at the end of October.

New coronavirus infections in the country jumped by almost 10,000 in the 24 hours through Sunday morning, data released by national health authorities showed, the biggest rise in more than six weeks.

The increase continues a rising trend seen over the previous week, as the effects of a partial lockdown that has been in effect since Oct. 13 seem to have waned.

All bars and restaurants in the country have been closed since mid-October, and people were urged to work from home as much as possible, but schools and shops have remained open.

This, however, looks likely to change after an emergency cabinet meeting scheduled for Monday, Dutch media said.

Citing government sources, public broadcaster NOS said the government was considering closing all non-essential shops for several weeks and extending the Christmas break for schools among measures to stop the spread of the disease.

Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Gareth Jones and Alex Richardson

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