OMT: Relax coronavirus restrictions if hospital admissions fall by 20 percent
The latest advice from the Outbreak Management Team (OMT) asks the Dutch government to only consider relaxing coronavirus restrictions once weekly hospital admissions have fallen by 20 percent.
Dutch government delays relaxation of coronavirus measures
April 28 saw a handful of measures lifted across the Netherlands, but over the weekend the government announced that the next stage in their five-step plan for lifting lockdown was to be pushed back from May 11 to (at least) May 18.
While many were left disappointed by the news, many - including the OMT - were relieved to hear the government was acting with caution. The 25 Dutch mayors with seats on the Security Council were understanding and supportive of the decision, seconding the cabinet’s view that the number of infections and hospitalisations need to fall before more can be done to lift the national lockdown.
OMT: "Hospital admissions have to fall before lockdown can be lifted"
The OMT have taken it one step further, however, saying that hospital admissions would need to fall by at least 20 percent before the government should even consider lifting any restrictions. According to the team of doctors and virologists, the peak of the third wave of COVID-19 has passed, but the pressure on the Dutch healthcare system remains extremely high.
Experts estimate there are approximately 170.000 contagious people in the Netherlands, and highlight that the R-number remains above one. They therefore argue that relaxation is “not justified,” and ask the government to hold off on any relaxations until there is “confirmation of the decline” of admissions.
The OMT also advises that no new Fieldlab coronavirus-proof trial events should be organised until step two of the government’s five-step plan can be carried out safely and responsibly. They also ask that all attendees at trial events be required to wear a face mask and be tested numerous times for coronavirus.