Give young people priority when relaxing Covid measures: A'dam mayor
Seven prominent Dutch, led by Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema, have taken on the duty of lobbying for young people in the coronavirus pandemic. The mental consequences of the lockdown for young people are no longer justified and the government needs to think more about them when it comes to relaxing the lockdown measures, they said in a manifesto, NOS reports.
"I recognize the necessity of the curfew and other measures, but if we consider granting more freedoms, think first of young people," Halsema said to Nieuwsuur. "We know that the young generation is suffering the most." In addition to Halsema, the manifesto is signed by OLVG director Maurice van den Bosch, chairman Jet Bussemaker of the Council for Health and Society, professor of polarization and resilience Hans Boutellier, chairman of the Social-Economic Council Mariëtte Hamer, pedagogue Micha de Winter, and National Youth Council chairman Maurice Knijnenburg.
According to the manifesto, the government sees young people as walking coronavirus risks. "The lifestyle that comes with being young - going out, meeting new and strange people, sitting close together, sleeping together - is at the top of the list of prohibited corona behavior," the signatories said. Young people are set against the elderly and vulnerable in the public debate on the pandemic. They rarely get sick, but can pass on the virus. "Young people then draw the short straw to combat the coronavirus as effectively as possible," they said.
"The mental and social impact of the lockdown is severe for young people and also affects the well being of our society," the signatories wrote in their manifesto. "According to I&O research, 69 percent of young people regularly feel lonely. One third of all students now give life a failing grade."
Once there is room to relax some of the coronavirus, the signatories want the government to take some "responsible risks" for young people. The signatories argue for, among other things, extending the age limit for allowed organized sports to 25 years, instead of the current 18 years. They also want to give young people priority for rapid tests at the door. "Then schools, community centers, study halls and sports clubs can be reopened for them with evidence of negative test results."
According to the authors, young people lack lobbying power like GPs, ICU doctors and other groups have. These groups profoundly influenced the vaccination policy in recent weeks. "That's why we're pleading for them right now," they said. "If it turns out that the vaccine not only protects the recipient against the virus, but also prevents its spread, it is good and logical to vaccinate young people first in the next phase."