Prime Minister Rutte and Minister Hugo de Jonge will give a press conference on Thursday evening because of the observed increase in the number of corona cases. Although there is as yet no reason to panic, there is a chance that new and additional measures will be introduced.
According to the National Information Service, the press conference is intended to “indicate the general situation, zoom in on the situation in certain regions and, if necessary, announce additional, regional support measures.” According to insiders (AD says), Rutte and De Jonge are “extremely concerned” about the increasing number of infections.
The only real problem they are currently facing is the fact that practically no checks are carried out on incoming travelers from risk areas at Schiphol. Because in the end, it just keeps on mopping with the tap open. Introducing a mandatory quarantine seems to be quite difficult legally, but it would be best.
The increasing number of infections is not a problem in itself. It mainly occurs in the age groups who have a high survival rate, and who also suffer less from serious (life-threatening) symptoms.
However, that does not mean that the Netherlands no longer has any problem at all. First of all, because the high-risk groups (the elderly, the frail and people with a serious condition) cannot, of course, keep an endless distance from all those potentially infected people over 20.
In addition, the increasing number of infections may eventually become a great danger, because the virus can mutate with every new infection. In most cases this results in a useless mutation, but there is always a chance that it will mutate in a much more harmful variant. An opportunity that, however small, continues to increase as more infections occur.
Over time, these mutations can also cause vaccines to be ineffective, or only temporarily effective. At the time they got the virus in view, Italy was already dealing with two variants of the virus. The Netherlands turned out to have nine (by heart) in February.
For the time being, there doesn’t seem to be a truly new ‘super-corona’ yet, and I don’t think Rutte or De Jonge will address that potential risk next Thursday night either. I think they will continue ‘the old way’ and give more powers to mayors at most, so that the responsibility for (local) virus control can be averted from them.
With a bit of bad luck, and I see it do it this way, they continue to give room for measures that have long been outdated. Then RIVM can come up with some ‘new’ insights that will again cause contradictions in policy, but where too late what will be done about it.
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