Dutch police say an explosive device detonated at a COVID-19 testing site before dawn Wednesday in the town of Bovenkarspel, north of Amsterdam, shattering windows but causing no reported injuries.
Police spokesman Menno Hartenberg told reporters that forensic officers investigating the site found the metal remains of the explosive device outside a building, which was damaged. Hartenberg said “it was not possible” the blast was an accident.
The northern area surrounding Bovenskarspel is suffering one of the Netherlands' worst COVID-19 outbreaks, with 181 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, compared with about 27 per 100,000 nationally. At least one hospital has been forced to send patients to other provinces due to lack of space in its intensive care units.
Resistance to COVID-19 restrictions in the Netherlands has turned violent in the past. In January, rioters torched a coronavirus test facility in the fishing village of Urk on the first night of a 9 p.m.-to-4:30 a.m. nationwide curfew imposed as part of the government’s latest coronavirus lockdown.
Attacks on health workers and facilities around the world have increased amid the COVID-19 pandemic. A report released this week by Geneva-based Insecurity Insight and the University of California, Berkeley’s Human Rights Center identified more than 1,100 threats or acts of violence against health care workers and facilities last year.
Wednesday is the first day in several months when lockdown measures in the Netherlands have been slightly eased, with hairdressers reopening and non-essential stores accepting a small number of customers by appointment.