Near future will show if 1.5-meter rule can continue to be let go safely: RIVM
The upcoming weeks will show if dropping the 1.5-meter distance rule can indeed be done safely, Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Control (CIb) Jaap van Dissel and RIVM chief modeler Jacco Wallinga said in an interview with NOS.
Since Saturday, everyone aged 13 and above must show a coronavirus access pass to enter catering businesses and events. In return, the 1.5-meter distance rule will no longer apply to these businesses.
Van Dissel said that it was time to let go of the measures. “We are now at point where everyone who wants to get vaccinated has done so. At some, you have to take further steps,” the CIb director said.
As long as the coronavirus access passes are duly checked, the 1.5-meter rule can be let go safely, Van Dissel said. A slight increase in coronavirus cases can always be expected when measures are loosened.
The experts predicted a second wave in the Fall similar to last year. Depending on how sharp the rise in cases is, more restrictions will be implemented. “This Fall the Outbreak Management Team (OMT) expects a considerable coronavirus wave, the size of which is dependent on restrictions, how many people are vaccinated and the seasonal effect,” Van Wallinga said.
The healthcare sector also fears a flu epidemic this year. Since the population has been less likely to come in contact with many people due to coronavirus restrictions, a rise in flu cases is also likely once measures are relaxed. Van Dissel predicted the flu season this year to be 60 percent more intense than usual. “The healthcare sector is already strained and has a lot to catch up on. Healthcare workers themselves are also still susceptible for the flu.”
The CIb director urged for everyone, including young people, to get vaccinated. “It is not only about the personal interest, but also what we want to achieve together to protect the vulnerable.”