Amsterdam wants to reduce infections quickly, but a miracle seems necessary

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1. The new, strict corona measures will take effect on Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. Which are the most drastic for Amsterdam?

From an economic point of view without a doubt the limitation of groups to a maximum of 30 people per (indoor) space. In addition to the mandatory closure of the catering industry at 10 p.m., this means that many restaurants and cafes will be questioning whether it is profitable to still open. A hard blow for the more than 8,000 Amsterdam catering establishments, which form an economic and social pillar of Amsterdam’s success. “I also see how incredibly hard these measures are for our city, which in many respects is driven by mutual encounters,” Mayor Femke Halsema said at a press conference last night. Buildings of great importance, such as large museums, concert halls and music venues, can apply for an exemption from the mayor for the maximum group size if they can guarantee a distance of 1.5 meters. According to Halsema, it is not artistic value, but health that is important in determining which institutions may remain open.

2. The cabinet has once again taken control of the pandemic response. What does mayor Halsema think of this?

They are pleased with this central, national management, because it underlines the seriousness of the situation. At the moment things are going so badly here that Amsterdam now scores high in the list of international hot spots. According to Halsema, the increase is currently so great that it is actually no longer possible to determine where exactly the infections in this region originate. “The Amsterdam region has become one big cluster,” she said last night. “Physical encounters should become the exception, you only seek each other out when necessary.”

3. Is this package enough to prevent a second lockdown?

Within three weeks, 20 October, it must be clear whether the new rules have effect. The mayor attached a clear objective to this. “Only after a decrease of at least 40 percent can the GGD resume the source and contact investigation and the reproduction number (average number of infections by one patient, ed.) Falls below 1.” Such a high and concrete objective is striking. Due to the incubation period of the virus, it will take a few more days before it becomes clear whether these measures are effective at all. A miracle seems to be necessary in order to subsequently realize that enormous drop of 40 percent in the remaining time. Halsema seems aware of this. “Only if everyone, without exception, makes an effort now, and adheres to the measures, can we have high hopes for better times in our near future.” Hopeful, but also gloomy, as the lack of discipline is precisely the cause of this second wave of infections.

4. Has nothing extra been thought of to counteract the peak in Amsterdam?

This is limited to a new form of the masking obligation. Together with Rotterdam and The Hague, among others, Halsema makes an urgent appeal to shops and all other publicly accessible buildings such as restaurants, supermarkets, institutions and libraries to make a mask compulsory. Customers and visitors run the risk of being thrown out if they do not participate. According to Halsema, the Amsterdam-Amstelland Safety Region cannot enforce this because this is legally unfeasible, so it remains an urgent advice. “We want it to be self-evident that you wear a mouth mask in indoor areas. We think that the extremely high level of contamination in this region provides sufficient reason for this. ”





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