School Christmas break should be extended to stop Covid spread: Experts
With the number of Covid-19 infections among children rising rapidly, the Cabinet should consider extending the Christmas holidays for schools, experts said to AD.
Last week, the public health institute RIVM registered nearly 9,500 coronavirus infections among kids aged 5 to 9, an increase of 85 percent. In the age group 10 to 14, over 11,000 kids tested positive, an increase of 76 percent.
No fewer than 120 primary schools were closed for a week due to Covid infections in the past period, the general association of school leaders AVS said to the newspaper. Half of all primary schools sent one or more classes home due to infections.
Marion Koopmans, virologist and member of the Outbreak Management Team, confirmed that the virus spread considerably among children. "Until now, that was really measurably less than the spread among adults. If the current package of measures does not show a decrease, we will look at what else is possible."
"Keeping primary schools closed for longer is an effective way to keep the virus under control," immunologist Ger Rijkers said to AD. "Children are little virus factories and infect each other as well as adults."
Karoly Illy, chair of the Dutch pediatrics association NVK and member of the OMT, "expects this question to be discussed by the OMT in the coming weeks."
The RIVM called it "very logical" that the virus is spreading more among kids than adults at this stage. Kids under the age of 12 are not vaccinated and don't have to maintain social distancing.
Pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna both applied for their vaccines to be approved for use in children. The European Medicines Agency will likely rule on the Pfizer application this week. The Netherlands will receive the first 42,000 Pfizer doses specially tailored for children next month, according to AD.