British variant responsible for an estimated half of latest Dutch coronavirus infections

Yesterday, it was revealed that half of the latest coronavirus infections in the Netherlands are estimated to have been caused by the British variant of the virus. 

This was stated in a letter that the Dutch cabinet sent to the Lower House last night, the NOS reports. In the letter, it was written that the rate of reproduction (R rate) of the British variant was 49% higher than that of the initial coronavirus strain.

A higher rate of reproduction

In mid-January, it was estimated that the British variant has an R rate of 1.27, meaning that, on average, those who contract the virus will pass it on to at least one other person — if not more. In comparison, the R rate of the original coronavirus was estimated to stand at 0.85 in mid-January. In order to eradicate a virus, it is required that the R rate remains below 1.

Half of all new infections

In mid-January, it was estimated that a third of all coronavirus infections in the Netherlands could be attributed to the British variant. However, the letter stated that using the above figures, it is now estimated that of all Dutch infections with a first day of illness beginning on January 26, half are caused by the British variant.

Easing of restrictions

In recent days, the Dutch cabinet has decided to reopen primary schools and childcare and wants to reopen shops and restaurants for pick-up orders. It also hopes to end the curfew on February 10 should infection numbers continue to fall. However, some experts worry that the government is moving to quickly in its easing of restrictions.

What do you think of the government’s decisions? Do you think the Netherlands should be more worried about the British variant? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below. 

Feature Image: DutchReview/Canva

Sarah O'Leary 🇮🇪
Sarah originally arrived in the Netherlands due to an inability to make her own decisions — she was simply told by her mother to choose the Netherlands for Erasmus. Life here has been challenging (have you heard the language) but brilliant for Sarah, and she loves to write about it. When Sarah is not acting as a safety threat to herself and others (cycling), you can find her sitting in a corner of Leiden with a coffee, trying to sound witty.

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