The Netherlands' health system is facing severe difficulties due to the rising number of coronavirus patients, temporarily shutting down accidents and emergency units at hospitals in multiple cities.
Hospital emergency units in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and the Hague had to close for several hours due to staff shortages and full beds, Ernst Kuipers, head of the Dutch network for acute medical care, told parliament on Wednesday.
Emergency patients had to be brought to other hospitals or other cities in ambulances.
In reaction to the rising number of coronavirus cases, the government has toughened restrictions and imposed a partial lockdown in the country.
Hospitals nevertheless expect to cut 40 per cent of regular care until November, or even 75 per cent if the new measures don't have an impact.
"This means only emergency services would remain, aside from COVID-19 care," Kuipers said.
He called the situation "gloomy" in comparison to the first wave of the virus.
Hospitals have already cut hundreds of operations and cancelled various treatments.
Almost 44,000 new infections were recorded in the Netherlands in the past week, amounting to 252 infections per 100,000 inhabitants.