Ministers gather to discuss new Covid restrictions after “worrying” OMT meeting
The Ministers involved in the Netherlands' coronavirus policy will meet in the Catshuis on Thursday to discuss further measures. The Outbreak Management Team (OMT) had a "worrying" meeting on Wednesday evening, member and pediatrician Kiaroly Illy said in talk show Jinek after the meeting.
Illy would not elaborate on possible new measures but did say that strict measures are inevitable to get the current spike in infections under control. "As long as people refuse to get vaccinated or continue to leave their house when they have symptoms, we have to."
Ernst Kuipers, OMT member and chairman of the national acute care network LNAZ, told Op1 that the number of coronavirus infections needs to be reduced quickly. "We really need a reversal in the trend of infections. We've had the chance for face masks and keeping 1.5 meters distance. That no longer works," he said.
LNAZ asked the Health Minister to scale up the hospital situation to 2D, which means that hospitals nationwide are scaling down scheduled critical care. This involves treatments like chemotherapy and kidney transplants that need to happen within six weeks or risk further damaging the patient's health. On Wednesday, public health institute RIVM reported 23,789 new coronavirus cases - a new daily record.
Kuipers said that the Cabinet "must act now" because the effect of the measures will only be visible in the number of infections and hospitalizations after two weeks.
On Thursday, the Ministers will discuss all possible measures in the Catshuis, the Prime Minster's official residence in The Hague. Closing schools is also on the table, despite previous OMT advice that stressed that the Cabinet should avoid this as long as possible due to the harmful effects closed schools have on children.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge will hold a press conference on Friday, a week earlier than planned. The fact that the press conference was moved up seems to indicate that they will announce stricter measures.