New Covid restrictions likely in big Dutch cities: RIVM
New regional measures intended to slow the spread of coronavirus are likely to be introduced in the largest cities of the Netherlands, said Jaap van Dissel, the head of the Center for Infectious Disease Control at public health agency RIVM. Speaking on Friday to AD, when the RIVM announced the highest single-day total of new infections since April 11, Van Dissel said a shockingly high number of people still go out into public even when they are sick.
"Our behavioral research shows that nine out of ten people with symptoms still go outside. That is simply risky," he said. The prevailing advice is that people with cold or flu symptoms get tested for the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus, and remain indoors until they receive a negative test result.
Van Dissel proposed that regional restrictions include earlier closing hours for bars and restaurants, and more limits on student association activities. "There are various clusters around students,” he said.
In the middle of this pandemic, Van Dissel said the students are building up more personal contacts and interactions with the start of the new academic year. “But that is not possible right now," he said. "Such measures to limit the number of social contacts will have an effect."
The RIVM leader also said that, at the moment, a national lockdown makes little sense to him. "Why should Drenthe participate in a measure that is necessary in the Randstad? You want to prevent that,” he said.
Van Dissel supported the policy stance put forward by Health Minister Hugo de Jonge earlier in the week that the government has access to more knowledge than it did in March, and thus can act with more precision. “In the spring we had to fight the medical crisis with a hammer blow. That’s different now."