Gov't pushed to use face masks in fight against Covid spread
Face masks must be part of the government's new measures to fight the spread of the coronavirus, according to advice from the Red team, a group of independent experts in different fields. Their advice is supported by the chairpersons of multiple security regions, and by former RIVM director Roel Coutinho, RTL Nieuws reports.
The Red team did not say exactly how the government should use masks to contain the virus, but they mentioned neighboring countries where masks are mandatory in shops and restaurants, and crowded places where social distancing is not possible.
"Mouth-nose masks slow down the spread, ensure that people become ill less (quickly), stimulate good behavior and respond to the fact that many people do not realize that they are spreading the virus," the Red team said, adding that these are all properties of great importance now.
So far the Netherlands has been very reluctant to make face masks mandatory. This measure only applies on public transport. Amsterdam and Rotterdam also briefly experimented with mandatory masks in some areas.
Public health institute RIVM always argued against making masks mandatory, saying that there is no conclusive evidence that they are effective and raising concerns that masks would lead to a false sense of security and people social distancing less.
The latter, at least, is not true, the Amsterdam experiment showed. People without a mask ignored social distancing just as much as people wearing masks. Crowds play a bigger role in whether or not people social distance, researchers from the Netherlands Study Center for Crime and Law Enforcement found.
The Security Council, which consists of the mayors that head the Netherlands' 25 security regions, will meet on Monday to discuss possible social restrictions in the fight against the coronavirus.