Cabinet ministers troubled and concerned about surging Covid numbers
The Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sigrid Kaag, and Justice Minister Ferd Grapperhaus have voiced their concerns over the rising number of coronavirus infections in the Netherlands. After the average number of daily positive tests increased four-fold in ten days, the Cabinet started considering taking new measures against the spread of the virus.
The final decision on whether the new restrictions are necessary is expected to be made on Friday morning. If agreed upon, new measures will be announced in a press conference on Friday at 7 p.m.. Measures rumored to be on the table include closing nightclubs, canceling multiple-day events, and limiting capacity at bars and restaurants.
Similarly, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Sigrid Kaag has called the rapid negative development very worrying. She has particularly addressed the issue of the upcoming summer holidays. Should the cases continue to surge, the Netherlands may be proclaimed a code red risk area in the EU, potentially barring the Dutch from traveling abroad.
“I also know what it means to people. And that if you have received your holiday money or have saved up for a while, that you want to go out for a while in your own country or of course elsewhere.”
Kaag did not want to predict whether popular summer holiday countries would force more restrictions on people arriving from the Netherlands.
"It is too early to speculate, but I share the concern. It's just risky right now," she admitted.
Grapperhaus was concerned about general physicians who are now becoming overworked, he said after meeting with the Security Council, a group of 25 mayors in the Netherlands. Though the number of new infections has soared, the number of hospitalizations is still declining for now. Most people who tested positive for the coronavirus infection last week were younger than 30, and the government was uncertain how that will affect the decline in hospitalizations, though it could increase the pressure on family physicians.
He was also worried about what the increase in coronavirus infections will mean for people who may have to deal with symptoms of Long Covid for months or possibly years after they recover from the coronavirus infection. Moreover, he stressed that the overall number of fully vaccinated residents is not yet at the desired level.
“We are not yet at that high level of protection and we really have to prevent more people from getting long-term Covid,” Grapperhaus stressed. The regional branches of the GGD have also notified the mayors that there are growing concerns over long-term Covid complaints.