Around 2 million Dutch have antibodies against Covid-19
Around 2 million Netherlands residents have antibodies against the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 because they have been infected by it, Jaap van Dissel of public health institute RIVM said in a parliamentary briefing on Wednesday, ANP reports.
At 2 million, the number of Netherlands residents who've had the coronavirus is much higher than the 570 thousand infections registered by the RIVM. This has to do with testing policy. Early in the crisis, there was a shortage in Covid-19 tests, so not everyone got tested and registered. And until very recently, the government's policy was to only test people who have symptoms that could indicate a Covid-19 infection, while many people may be asymptomatic.
It is not yet known how long these antibodies will protect the people who have them against Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus. There have been cases of people being infected a second time, but according to Van Dissel, this is rare.
The government hopes to start vaccinating vulnerable groups against Covid-19 early in January. To achieve herd immunity, 60 to 70 percent of the population must have resistance to the virus. Currently about 10 percent of the Dutch population are resistant.
The RIVM is currently investigating how and when coronavirus measures can be relaxed as more people build up immunity. But according to Van Dissel, "it will take a while" before more is known about this and measures can start being relaxed.