Dutch experts recommend COVID-19 lockdown to counteract increase in cases | Coronavirus pandemic News – Community News
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Dutch experts recommend COVID-19 lockdown to counteract increase in cases | Coronavirus pandemic News

Advice from the Dutch Outbreak Management Team could lead to the first lockdown in Western Europe since the summer.

Pandemic experts in the Netherlands have recommended imposing the first partial lockdown of Western Europe since the summer, putting pressure on the government to take drastic and unpopular measures to fight a COVID-19 wave.

The cabinet of interim Prime Minister Mark Rutte is expected to make a decision on new measures on Thursday on the advice of the Outbreak Management Team, a panel of experts reports.

Considerations are being given to canceling events, closing theaters and cinemas and enforcing earlier closing times for cafes and restaurants, the NOS report said. Schools would remain open.

The government often, but not always, follows the recommendations of the panel of experts.

Many developed countries have said further lockdowns are no longer necessary due to vaccine rollouts, even as infections rise to record levels.

Countries such as the UK rely on booster vaccinations to boost immunity and prevent health care systems from becoming overloaded in the winter.

So far, the Netherlands has only given booster shots to a small group of people with a weak immune system. Despite an adult vaccination rate of nearly 85 percent, hospitals in some areas have been forced to scale back regular care to treat COVID-19 patients.

‘Towards a disaster’

Last month, unvaccinated COVID-19 patients in Dutch hospitals had a median age of 59 years, compared to 77 years for vaccinated patients, data from RIVM shows.

About 56 percent of Dutch COVID-19 patients were not or partially vaccinated. Of the COVID-19 patients in intensive care, 70 percent were not or partially vaccinated.

Last week, two months after the social distancing rules were abolished, Rutte again took measures to slow down the spread of the virus.

The steps include the reintroduction of face masks in stores and wider use of a “corona pass” that shows proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result to access certain locations.

But the number of infected people has continued to rise, with RIVM reporting Tuesday that the number of weekly cases had risen by 45 percent to 76,790, or more than 400 per 100,000 people.

On Tuesday, a group of hospitals in the southern Dutch province of Limburg called on the government to take additional measures to reduce transfer rates, as they do not have the space or staff to treat more coronavirus patients.

“We are heading for a healthcare disaster and the entire system will come to a standstill,” write the five Limburg hospitals in a letter to Rutte’s administration. “We are convinced that the rest of the Netherlands will follow us soon.”


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