Ministers meet to discuss pandemic; virologist de Jong says its 'too early to relax the corona measures'
Menno de Jong, a virologist at the Amsterdam UMC and member of the Outbreak Management Team (OMT), sees no room yet to further relax the corona measures, now that the number of infections is increasing again. According to him, opening terraces at Easter is a bridge too far and curfews should be adhered to.
He says that in an interview with AT5. In recent days, the number of infections has exceeded 7,000. According to De Jong, this may have been caused by the limited relaxation. "Hospital admissions are steadily high. They are not going down any further. In intensive care it has increased somewhat."
According to him, this is probably because young people, in particular, are getting infected at the moment. "They usually do not end up in the hospital. What we are afraid of is that the vulnerable population that has not yet been vaccinated will soon become infected. Then you will get more hospital admissions. There is a certainty: with relaxation, the number of infections will increase. "
Opening terraces, as hoped by the hospitality industry, is not an option. "I think, considering the pressure of infections, that it is a bridge too far. Easter is in a week or two. In my view, that is too soon. If there is to be relaxed, I would sooner think of smaller easing, such as higher education. I would definitely stick to curfew. We're not there yet," says de Jong
Incidentally, De Jong prefers not to speak of a third wave. "We are in the second wave since September / October, which lasts a very long time. It looks a bit like the alpine landscape. It's a big wave. I don't believe in it until we get into the valley. We haven't reached Mont Blanc yet in the alpine landscape. We must also avoid that."
Catshuis meeting on Sunday
Several ministers direct involved with tackling the coronavirus crisis will meet on Sunday at the Catshuis, the Prime Minister's official address, to discuss a possible easing of the covid restrictions. On Tuesday, there will be another press conference about the pandemic with Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Minister of Health Hugo de Jonge.
During the previous press conference, De Jonge said that more relaxations might be possible at the end of March if the corona figures allow it. For example, the terraces could open again "around Easter," and colleges and universities could again partially admit students.
There might also be more room for retail. Furthermore, the cabinet would come up with new travel advice for the May holidays and possibly also the summer holidays. Insiders speculate that the above-mentioned relaxations will not yet be applied.