We can prepare for a summer with festivals but should stay cautious: De Jong
Festivals, concerts and other events can start as early as June 5 provided attendees present a negative coronavirus test. This is good news, but we should still be mindful that infection numbers can rise quickly, said virologist and member of the Outbreak Management (OMT), Menno de Jong, to AT5. “Festivals like Lowlands are possible but we should not become overly confident.”
The Cabinet also stated they plan on loosening further restrictions ahead of time on June 30. These plans still need to be officially submitted to the OMT for advice. “So far it is going well. I am overjoyed”, De Jong said.
The virologist said that infection numbers and hospitals admissions still need to continue to go down but is hopeful that, “they will continue to decline. I’m glad we have come over the peak.”
Infection numbers have been steadily declining in the past week and hospitals are starting to see continuously fewer Covid-19 patients. “I am very happy with the figures. The number of vaccinations is also increasing rapidly. That also contributed to the decline”, De Jong said. On Friday, the ICU total in the Netherlands dropped under 500 for the first time in five months.
De Jong warned that coronavirus mutations to which current vaccinations might not respond well to could put a damper on the continuation of festivals from the end of June. He emphasized to no throw all caution out the window. “It really depends on the numbers at the time.” Delays in the delivery of vaccines can also postpone progress with the vaccination campaign.
There are also concerns about the willingness to vaccinate among people with a migration background, as well as, in religious circles in the Bible Belt. “This is about Amsterdam but it takes places in several parts of the Netherlands, for example, in the Bible Belt, in Urk. That can lead to local outbreaks.”
“We are going to have a very nice summer, but the winter season is also approaching. The virus is not gone”, De Jong concluded.