Cabinet seeking emergency advice on new coronavirus measures
New daily coronavirus infections reached the highest point in 40 days, and in response, the Cabinet has urgently requested its Outbreak Management Team to advise the government about new restrictions to stop the situation from spiraling out of control. Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said that while new daily infections last week averaged under 800 per day, nearly 3,600 new cases were reported to the RIVM on Wednesday.
The seven-day moving average has risen daily since the start of the month. The Delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus was most likely the culprit for the increasing spread of infections, which coincides with the relaxation of most coronavirus measures in the country on June 26.
On Wednesday, the average number of new daily cases was expected to approach 1,650, almost three times the average on June 30.
"So you see that it is increasing rapidly," he said in response. However, it was not clear how the infection figures should be interpreted, considering the Cabinet's goal is to maintain a low level of Covid-19 patients in hospital care. Most of the new infections reported last week involved people under the age of 24, which might not lead to a surge in Covid-19 hospitalizations.
The OMT advice will tell the Cabinet "whether we really should be concerned," he said to the Tweede Kamer on Wednesday. The advice was expected late on Thursday.
Already last week, the Delta variant was believed to be the dominant coronavirus strain in the Netherlands, displacing the Alpha variant which had been most common since the start of 2021. The Delta variant is up to two-thirds more contagious than the Alpha variant, early research has shown.