Will the Dutch coronavirus lockdown be extended?
The past few days have seen a number of countries either strengthen or extend their coronavirus lockdowns. On Monday it was revealed that Germany would likely extend their existing lockdown, while British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has placed England under a complete national lockdown that will last until at least mid-February.
The current so-called hard-lockdown that is in place in the Netherlands is only forecasted to last until January 19. However, the date of Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s next press conference - January 12 - is fast approaching. So what does the future hold for the Netherlands? Will the dutch lockdown be extended?
Will Rutte extend the coronavirus lockdown?
While the daily reports from the RIVM have shown that the number of coronavirus infections in the Netherlands has dropped slightly, with 6.671 reported on Monday, the number remains high. Add to this the fact that the full impact of the Christmas holidays remains unknown, and the spread of the new highly contagious “British coronavirus,” and experts fear the number of infections will remain too high to justify lifting the lockdown.
Speaking to the AD, professor of clinical epidemiology at the University of Leiden, Frits Rosendaal, said he thought it was likely the lockdown would be extended and that schools will remain closed: “It is a measure that I have always opposed. But under these circumstances, I would find it understandable...It is clear that the number of infections is still much too high.”
The Outbreak Management Team are set to meet again on Friday, January 8 to discuss the options available to the Dutch government. One member said that an extension of the lockdown has not yet been discussed, but that the possibility was not out of the question.
Coronavirus vaccinations in the Netherlands
On Monday, the first healthcare workers got their invitation to book an appointment to receive the coronavirus vaccine. According to the GGD, over 24.000 people have already called to book a slot.
The government also announced on Monday that the start date for vaccinations has been brought forward. The first vaccination - initially scheduled for January 8 - has been scheduled for Wednesday, January 6, and Sanna Elkadiri, a 39-year-old nursing home employee from Eindhoven, will be the first person to be vaccinated.
It is widely accepted that a thorough and successful vaccination strategy could play a significant role in alleviating the pressure on the Dutch healthcare system, preventing the spread of coronavirus, and ultimately allowing for the relaxation of national measures. Health Minister Hugo de Jonge hopes that, if the Netherlands receives all their doses of the various vaccines on time, all adults can be vaccinated by the end of the third quarter of 2021.