Could the British variant be more widespread in The Netherlands than currently assumed?
Just over 200 cases of the British variant of the coronavirus have now been diagnosed in the Netherlands. The public health agency RIVM confirmed this in an article by AD. A week ago, the tally was still at 96 cases. It is feared that the British variant is much more contagious than the existing variant of the coronavirus.
However, a link to the new variant has only been made in a small proportion of the infections found. It is thus likely that the British variant has already spread more widely in the Netherlands than currently assumed. Experts right now think that the mutated variant caused between 1.5 percent (for the Netherlands as a whole) and 5 percent (for certain regions) of coronavirus cases.
Meanwhile, the variant coming from South Africa has so far only been diagnosed once in the Netherlands. New strains have also surfaced in Brazil and Japan. However, Dutch health experts have not yet discovered those in the country.
The appearance of the British is cause for concern. Additional measures seem inevitable, experts say. Director of the public health agency RIVM Jaap van Dissel, head of the Network for Acute Care Erns Kuipers, fear that the healthcare system will become overwhelmed if the British variant quickly gains ground.
Kuipers anticipates that pressure on the healthcare system will reach a new peak in March. According to him, that peak could be just as high as during the height of the first wave at the end of March last year. He calls for additional measures.