Dutch coronavirus infections rise ahead of lockdown easing

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Dutch caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte has defended his decision to ease his country’s lockdown next week even after the Netherlands recorded 9,648 new coronavirus infections. That was the highest daily increase since January.  The national care authority also says that more than one-third of Dutch hospitals no longer have the capacity to carry out planned critical care and nearly all hospitals are delaying less urgent medical procedures. The announcements Thursday come less than a week before a planned relaxation in the country’s tough lockdown. On April 28, a nationwide curfew is scheduled to end and Dutch bars and restaurants can open outdoor terraces under strict limitations.