Experts call for shorter and sharper lockdown to battle coronavirus
The Red Team - an independent group of 12 scientists who provide information and advice on how to tackle the ongoing spread of coronavirus in the Netherlands - have called for the country to go into a strict national lockdown for two weeks.
Advice for a complete lockdown in the Netherlands
The Red Team is advising the Dutch government to put the Netherlands into a stricter lockdown as soon as possible, closing everything - including schools - for two weeks and only leaving supermarkets and pharmacies open for necessities. Wim Schellekens, former inspector at the Health Care Inspectorate and member of the Red Team, told RTL Nieuws: “If we opt for a strong lockdown now, we can resume our life somewhat normally in a few weeks.”
Other advice that the Red Team has offered in the past includes making face masks mandatory, and the team feels that setting up a comprehensive testing policy and source and contact investigation system should be one of the top priorities at the moment.
The Red Team is not alone in calling for the introduction of stricter measures. In the Twente Security Region, where there has been a recent and drastic increase in the number of infections, people are asking for all sport to be stopped, schools to be closed, and shops (not supermarkets) to be allowed to close.
Rising coronavirus infections across the country
The National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM) reported on Thursday afternoon that there had been 9.283 new infections in the previous 24 hour period. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) revealed on Friday morning that between October 12 and October 18, 3.200 people died - around 400 more than is typical for this time of year.
Also on Friday morning, the first coronavirus patients from the second wave in the Netherlands will be transferred to Germany for treatment, with the weekend seeing the transfer of four more patients from Dutch hospitals to German hospitals. The National Coordination Centre for Patient Distribution (LCPS) reports that there are currently 2.003 coronavirus patients in hospitals in the Netherlands, 463 of which are being treated in intensive care.
At a press conference on Thursday, Ernst Kuipers, chairman of the National Acute Care Network (LNAZ) said the first wave in the Netherlands was a tidal wave - the second is a tsunami. He said that, while hospitalisations continue to rise, it will take a number of weeks before the true peak is reached. Many experts, including members of the Outbreak Management Team (OMT), are saying that it is too early to tell if the measures currently in place are effective.