Hospitals: Lockdown extension logical with Covid patients jammed in ICU
The Cabinet responded sensibly to growing Covid-19 hospitalizations by prolonging the lockdown, said Ad Melkert on Monday. Speaking to NOS Radio, the Dutch hospital association (NVZ) chair discussed news reports that the relaxation of lockdown measures, like the reopening of terraces and the elimination of the curfew, was shelved until at least April 28, the day after King’s Day.
“The decision by the Cabinet to wait with easing restrictions for at least a week is understandable”, Melkert says. “It is difficult for many people that hoped for and counted on the relaxation of social restrictions. But we desperately need an extension because in the hospitals it’s all hands on deck.”
Last week there had been reports that the Cabinet planned to open terraces on April 21, but new infections rose fast after an Easter lull ended. Covid-19 hospitalizations over the past calendar week rose by nine percent compared to the previous week. On Sunday, there were 2,517 people with the coronavirus disease in care, including 788 in intensive care. The ICU figure has held above seven hundred since April 2, vastly complicating scheduled surgeries and some transplant procedures.
The RIVM also reported 8,288 new infections on Sunday. The NVZ urged to wait with reopening the country because infection numbers were still high.
In addition, not all hospital staff have been vaccinated. Melkert is hopeful that will soon change. The Cabinet is pushing to release extra vaccines for hospital staff to prevent high absenteeism during the third wave.