Dutch government considers restrictions to limit spread of COVID-19

Dutch government considers restrictions to limit spread of COVID-19

As the Netherlands heads into winter and faces a rising number of coronavirus infections, the Dutch government and Outbreak Management Team (OMT) are discussing options for (re)introducing restrictions at next week’s press conference. 

COVID-19 cases in the Netherlands more than double in October

The weekly report published by the National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM) on Tuesday revealed that the number of COVID-19 cases in the Netherlands had more than doubled between October 12 and October 26. Over the last week, a total of 38.733 infections were recorded, equating to 255 positive coronavirus tests for every 100.000 members of the population. 

While Dutch hospitals have also once again seen an increase in the number of COVID-19 patients admitted, the RIVM notes that the success of the Netherlands’ vaccination campaign means hospital admissions are significantly lower than they were this time last year. In week 42 of 2020, 1.629 coronavirus-related hospitalisations were recorded, compared to 584 in week 42 of 2021.

The RIVM attributes this recent increase to the relaxation of a number of coronavirus restrictions at the end of September, as well as the seasonal weather and temperature drop the country has experienced.

Could the government introduce restrictions for the unvaccinated?

Facing pressure from hospitals and doctors to take action against the rising infection rate, the government announced this week it was bringing the next coronavirus press conference forward, from November 5 to November 2. 

While many had initially suspected the government would only introduce new restrictions for members of the population who were unvaccinated, this idea has faced significant pushback. Members of the OMT believe this move would create too much polarisation within the country and that it would be difficult to implement, and the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer) agrees.

Public opinion, however, seems to say something different. A recent poll conducted by the Dutch TV programme EenVandaag amongst over 28.000 panellists found that 72 percent of people who are vaccinated support the introduction of restrictions for unvaccinated people. “Unvaccinated people claim their freedom but limit that of others. Because of their (unnecessary) hospitalisations, they deprive people of treatment and thus health,” one panellist wrote.

Next coronavirus press conference scheduled for November 2

Alternatively, the government could choose to introduce local restrictions, depending on the vaccination and infection rates in each specific region or city. But MPs and members of the OMT argue that, instead of reintroducing restrictions, it would make more sense to ensure the current measures are properly enforced.

Meanwhile, Koninklijke Horeca Nederland (KHN), the largest union representing hospitality businesses in the Netherlands, is asking the government to lift the enforced closing time of midnight for bars, restaurants and nightclubs, and to instead focus on shutting down illegal (house) parties.

The EenVandaag survey found that 60 percent of respondents were in favour of the government strengthening national measures at the next press conference. Regardless of what the government chooses to do, Health Minister Hugo de Jonge seems to be aware that many will be left frustrated, but is adamant that the main goal is to prevent the Dutch healthcare system from becoming “overloaded.”

Thumb: Wut_Moppie via Shutterstock.

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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magusperde2 20:36 | 28 October 2021

Even now, with the real statistics & research readily available, they insist upon using inaccurate and poorly processed data to extend "the state of emergency" where no one has any rights. The 72% of vaccinated individuals would reconsider to find out that the Covid hospitalizations are mostly with those who are vaccinated...dramatically so. Regarding the creation of too much 'polarization', it's already well on its way. It is also in direct violation of the EU Council Resolution 2361 (2021) Article 7.3.1 & 7.3.2, not to mention the Nuremberg Code. Infection rates for the vaccinated and unvaccinated are the same. It is a profound act of insanity and/or deception to coerce unvaccinated people to get an injection that clearly isn't working as a way of solving this problem.

DD1002 21:06 | 29 October 2021

Magusperde2 is correct on several points (all of which I will not address). With regard to infection rates, however, the RIVM has confirmed the infection rate of vaccinated per 10,000 has increased and constitutes 1/3 of all hospitalizations. “ When 90% of the population is vaccinated, the number of hospital admissions falls from 200 to 29. Nine of those people have been fully vaccinated. As vaccination coverage rises, very few people have to be admitted to hospital, but the percentage of vaccinated patients is higher.” If being unvaccinated was such a significant reason for hospitalizations, with only 10% of the population still unvaccinated we would still see 200 hospitalizations per day (per 10,000) made substantially of the unvaccinated. But we do not because infection, without underlying conditions, is not a reason for hospitalization. The government should be concerned with the vaccinated, who remain able to contract and spread covid. Since the last government restrictions, only the unvaccinated need to be tested to go to bars, clubs, etc. Yet the rate of covid infections and hospitalizations has gone up. The government’s first reaction was to increase prohibitions for the unvaccinated. Did it ever occur to them that in a crowded restaurant, the unvaccinated are the only ones with proof that they are not infected and thus not spreading covid. Only the vaccinated, who do not need to get tested, are the potential carriers as they are not required to be tested prior to entering an establishment. They are putting the (healthy) unvaccinated at risk, causing the outbreaks, AND increased hospitalizations. Those who blindly wave the stick of accusation and are willing to take away the rights of people will one day find themselves at the end of that same stick.