Regional differences in coronavirus situations call for customized measures, professor says
The number of coronavirus patients in the Netherlands is decreasing, but not at the same pace everywhere. In Amsterdam and Rotterdam, for example, the figures are falling more slowly than average. Professor for microbiology Alex Friedrich of the UMC in Groningen therefore advocates for measures to be determined by region, to compensate for the differences, RTL Nieuws reports.
According to RTL's own analysis of RIVM figures, the south of the country is still struggling with higher patient and mortality numbers, while the number of coronavirus cases in the northern provinces remain limited. The number of people in the Netherlands who were or had been hospitalized with the coronavirus increased by 6 percent last week, but in Amsterdam and Rotterdam the increases were 8.1 percent and 11.5 percent respectively.
Many factors can contribute to the regional differences in the coronavirus spread, such as the density or age of the population, Hans Heesterbeek, professor of theoretical epidemiology at Utrecht University, said to the broadcaster. He calls for this to be researched. "Because explanations for differences can be important for future policy and action."
Friedrich thinks the government should consider implementing regional measures, based on the actual coronavirus situation in the reason, to curb the spread of the virus. "It is decreasing everywhere. That is very good and important. But there are still differences. And you have to address them specifically and say: okay, which of the different measures we agree on can we best apply here?" he said to the broadcaster.
The advantage of regional measures is that you can also use them as a test to see whether relaxing a measure would work for the entire country, Friedrich added. "If you notice that [infections are] increasing, you can adjust again. If you notice that it is decreasing or remaining the same, you can also relax in other regions. If you can apply different measures at the same time in different regions, you do not always have to wait," he said to the broadcaster.