AMSTERDAM - A majority of Dutch provinces were categorized at Europe's most serious risk level for coronavirus on Thursday, a day after the Dutch government did the same for nearly all of the country. Seven of the country's twelve provinces were classified at the Dark Red level by the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, according to data released by the agency in advance of the updated map.
The Dark Red level is only used for regions of the European Union that produced an excess of 500 positive coronavirus tests per 100 thousand residents.
With 980 infections per capita, Groningen had the most positive cases and remained at Dark Red for the second straight week. That was followed by Noord-Holland (941), Utrecht (827), Zuid-Holland (652), Noord-Brabant (564), Gelderland (514) and Overijssel (506).
The five other provinces of Drenthe, Flevoland, Friesland, Limburg and Zeeland remained at Red.
National governments in Europe have often changed their border policies based on the ECDC risk assessment. When all of the Netherlands went to the second-highest Red level or worse last week, several countries including Belgium, France and Germany adjusted their requirements for coronavirus testing and quarantine regarding people traveling from the Netherlands.
"We will discuss this with countries, whether this is really necessary, but in the end it is up to the countries themselves," Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said earlier this week.
The most recent week of the two-week period suggested strong improvement in infection figures in all 12 Dutch provinces. Multiple regions, both Dark Red and Red, could potentially able to be downgraded next week. The ECDC updates its risk assessment every Thursday.
Cyprus was the only EU country entirely placed at Dark Red. Spain was the only country with many regions at the most serious level, with eight out of 19 classified as such. The Greek island of Crete and the French-Caribbean island of Martinique were also categorized at Dark Red.