Despite positive news about Omicron variant, no restrictions loosened for the time being
The Outbreak Management Team advised not to let go of Covid-19 measures yet, despite initial studies of the Omicron variant appearing positive.
Nonetheless, the OMT expects that hospital admissions will rise around New Year's. Due to the uncertainty, the Cabinet is sticking to the current lockdown.
According to studies from the United Kingdom, Denmark and South Africa, people infected with the Omicron variant are less likely to end up in hospital than people infected with the delta variant. In the UK, people infected with omikron are about 20 to 25 percent less likely to be hospitalized.
"That would be great news. But we'd like to see the studies confirmed based on more data before we get excited. But is a good indication," RIVM chief modeler Jacco Wallinga said.
The OMT emphasized that there is still no definite answer, partly because the studies were conducted on small groups of patients. The population of South Africa is also younger than the Dutch population, which could further distort the picture since young people have a smaller chance of falling seriously ill. According to the OMT, there is "insufficient certainty about the properties of the Omicron variant to adjust the current measures."
The measures will be reassessed on January 3. The Cabinet will look at what possibilities there are for education. For the time being, education is closed until at least January 9. The current lockdown will remain in effect until January 14.
Director of the Center for Prevention of Infectious Diseases, Jaap van Dissel, said he expects these countries to follow with stricter measures. "We already see different countries taking extra precaution or that medical experts are advising politicians to do so in Denmark, Germany and Belgium."
Reporting by ANP