Health Min. tells schools, businesses to prepare for next Covid wave themselves
Health Minister Ernst Kuipers wants sectors in the Netherlands to stop relying on the government for a coronavirus strategy and take their own steps to prepare for a new wave of infections expected in the autumn. "Make your own plan," he said to broadcaster NOS in response to criticism from experts saying that the government's lack of Covid-19 strategy would result in more lockdowns.
Kuipers acknowledged that the Netherlands is not yet well prepared for a revival of the coronavirus. But it is not just up to the government, he said to the broadcaster, putting the ball in businesses, schools, and hospitals' court. "All I can do is closely monitor the virus, announce a new round of vaccinations if necessary, and stimulate healthcare to take measures. But at the same time, my question to the school or the restaurant owner is: what are you doing in your environment?"
According to him, the coronavirus is everyone's responsibility. "The Hague is no longer solely responsible," he said. "The sectors and citizens themselves say: let us take control." But not everyone is taking measures, Kuipers said. There are still hospitals that don't have a good plan for scaling up care if there is an influx of coronavirus patients, he said. The catering industry is not giving enough thought to staying open safely, he said.
"We may get 5 to 10 million infections in the winter season," the Health Minister said to NOS. He wants to avoid severe measures as far as possible. But if mandatory face masks on public transport and a new round of vaccinations can help, he will implement them. According to him, these measures cause as little pain as possible.