A curfew, a flight ban for certain countries, restricting home visits and even more measures are, according to outgoing Minister Hugo de Jonge (Public Health), necessary to cope with the third wave. According to the Outbreak Management Team (OMT), it is inevitable that the third wave, caused by the British corona variant, will come our way.
The number of corona infections has been falling very gradually for a few weeks. The number of corona cases is also decreasing in hospitals. “Then you would say: Why then intervene so firmly?”, Minister De Jonge wondered aloud during the press conference on Wednesday afternoon. “That’s because we see that third wave coming our way.”
According to the OMT, we are currently dealing with two outbreaks. The first is the one against the “classic” corona variant. The numbers are slowly moving in the right direction. If we were only dealing with that outbreak, we could carefully consider when easing could be possible again, the RIVM said in conversation with NU.nl on Tuesday.
However, the much more contagious British variant throws a spanner in the works. It will not make you any sick, but because more people are infected with it, more people will eventually become ill.
De Jonge: ‘We have to buy time’
The British variant is still good for one in ten infections, but the OMT expects that this will have risen to more than 50 percent in February. According to De Jonge, the British mutation completely eclipsed the classic corona variant in March or April.
And despite the corona measures already in force, that is not enough to contain the British variant. “That is a gloomy picture, but I cannot explain it in any other way,” said Jaap van Dissel of the RIVM on Wednesday.
And so extra measures are needed, according to the OMT. “We have to save time, so that we are ready when the third wave comes,” said De Jonge.
Outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte showed understanding that “we are all coronamoe”. “But we have to brace ourselves one more time. Do the maximum now to be ready for what is immediately coming our way.”
De Jonge: “How great would the regret be if we wait and look back in about three weeks and see that we have missed precious opportunities?”