Lockdown lowered Covid infections, previous measures had little effect: RIVM
The measures the government announced against the coronavirus on September 28 had no effect on the number of Covd-19 infections, RIVM director Jaap van Dissel said in a briefing to parliament on Wednesday. The partial lockdown implemented in mid-October worked in bringing the numbers down, he said, NOS reports.
The main difference between the measures announced end September and mid-October was the complete closure of the catering industry. Before the partial lockdown, restaurants and bars had to close earlier. During the lockdown, they're only allowed to be open for takeaways.
The additional measures over the past two weeks, such as closing libraries, zoos and amusement parks, definitely reduced the burden on healthcare Van Dissel said. The expectation was that admissions would drop to 10 Covid-19 hospitalizations and three ICU admissions per day by December 20th. But the stricter lockdown means that this number will be reached about 10 days earlier, he said. These additional measures were lifted again on Tuesday.
Van Dissel said that the number of coronavirus cases is now decreasing in all age groups. Regions that had worryingly high infection rates are also seeing improvement. In Twente and Rotterdam-Rijnmond there is now "a favorable picture", he said.
The peak in hospitalized Covid-19 patients is lower than in the first wave, but is also declining more slowly, Van Dissel and Ernst Kuipers of the national acute care network LNAZ both said. Kuipers expects that by the end of December, Dutch hospitals will be caring for around 900 coronavirus patients in the nursing wards and around 300 in intensive care. On Tuesday there were 2,146 coronavirus patients in hospital, including 567 in ICU.
According to Kuipers, the pressure on the healthcare system is still high. "We are certainly not ready to resume regular care," he said to the MPs. The east and west of the country are struggling in particular. To avoid overloading hospitals, coronavirus patients are regularly moved to hospitals with more available capacity. To date, 1,221 patients were transferred to another region, and 973 to other hospitals in the same region, Kuipers said.