OMT: “Emergency brake” needed to halt lockdown changes if hospital cases rise
The gradual easing of coronavirus measures which is set to take off on Wednesday must be halted immediately in case the number of hospital admissions increases dramatically in the upcoming weeks, advisors from the Outbreak Management Team (OMT) said. Team experts argued that “an emergency stop on the easing must always be kept as an option,” ANP reported
The OMT also emphasized that the RIVM models, which the government used to justify its decision on April 28 reopening, are based on “favorable conditions” and “favorable assumptions”.
The OMT, a body advising the government in relation to coronavirus policies, stressed the importance of an “emergency brake” on the reopening explaining that easing should only continue if the weekly average of the number of new hospitals and intensive care admissions falls by at least 10 percent. The OMT would prefer to see a decrease of 15 percent before any further relaxations take place.
During a meeting on Friday, OMT experts said that the current situation was "fragile in the short term." Hospital admissions and daily infections rates are still the same as in recent weeks, "but future projections have a wide range of uncertainties," they stated.
Members of the OMT previously issued strong advise to the Cabinet advised the Cabinet to wait before relaxing coronavirus measures, a plan which got underway on Monday with the limited reopening of higher education classrooms. More measures will be lifted or relaxed on Wednesday. The OMT wanted the Cabinet to hold off until it became certain the current rising number of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infections has indeed hit a peak and was on the way back down again.
On Monday it was rumored that the government will go through with easing the measures as planned on Wednesday as ministers see no reason to reverse or adjust their plan, sources close to the caretaker Cabinet said.
After the curfew is eliminated and outside terraces and more stores are reopened on Wednesday, the second of six reopening phases could happen on May 11. This stage will involve zoos and amusement parks being able to welcome visitors again and will also see indoor sports activities being resumed.