Press conference set for 7 p.m.: New coronavirus measures possible amid Delta variant surge
Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge will hold a press conference at 7 p.m. on Friday to discuss the current state of the coronavirus pandemic. De Jonge previously said that reporters would be assembled if they planned to announce new social restrictions.
New measures under consideration were rumored to include closing nightclubs and some other venues, limiting or cancelling multi-day events, and possibly limiting entrance to restaurants and bars to a maximum capacity which can be maintained with 1.5 meters of distance between customers. These measures were part of a package of restrictions which were relaxed nearly two weeks ago.
New infections reported in the Netherlands on Thursday approached 5,500, double the current seven-day average. That average sat at 2,330, roughly four-times where it was ten days earlier. The highly contagious Delta variant of the virus was believed to have become the dominant variant in the Netherlands already at the end of June.
De Jonge said earlier this week that the Cabinet would base any decisions about new coronavirus restrictions around urgent advice he requested from the country’s Outbreak Management Team.
The increase in coronavirus infections has come as a bit of a surprise to OMT member Anja Schreijer. The head of the Amsterdam branch of the GGD was interviewed on Op1 on Thursday night.
She said it is a delicate balance to recommend social restrictions that effect everyone to keep the coronavirus in check, when those generating the most concern are the groups where the vaccination rate is lower, including those representing different ages, living in certain areas, or working in specific professions. The large spike in infections has been mainly attributed to people under 30, who have had only limited opportunities to get a Covid-19 vaccine dose.
What has not gotten enough attention, she said, are those people who continue to suffer from Long Covid, a syndrome where people have Covid-19 health complaints long after they have recovered from the disease. “There is no reason to shut down an entire society. But it is true that the studies that we also do in Amsterdam show that 30 percent of young people still have one or more complaints after 3 months," she said. "It's not a very heavy story, but it is a kink in someone's life.”