Independent Dutch experts call for a strict two week lockdown

The Red Team is a group of experts who provide the government unsolicited advice, and often, the government listens. Their current advice: the country should go into a strict lockdown, starting now.

The lockdown called for by the Red Team would mean ensuring people are meeting as little as possible, reports RTL Nieuws. Schools should be closed for two weeks, and the only supermarkets and pharmacies should remain open.

The Red Team has prepared extensive advice for the government to take stricter measures as soon as possible. “If we now opt for a powerful lockdown, we can resume our life somewhat normally in a few weeks,” says Red Team member Wim Schellekens, a former inspector at the Health Care Inspectorate. 

In the meantime, he says the focus should be on ensuring the testing policy and contact tracing are fully up to speed.

What is the Red Team?

A counterpart to the Outbreak Management Team (OMT), the Red Team is a group of independent experts who give regular advice on how the government should manage coronavirus. 

The government does not officially have to take the Red Team’s advice. Although, their previous recommendations have been taken to be seriously by many politicians. For instance, several days after the Red Team advised the use of face masks, the cabinet came out with urgent advice for people to wear them in indoor public places.

The Red Team’s advice

The Red Team calls for four temporary measures to be strictly followed:

  1. Close schools for two weeks,
  2. Work from home unless absolutely necessary,
  3. Close all but essential shops (grocery stores and pharmacies),
  4. Close the Netherlands’ borders.

As soon as possible

The Red Team reiterates that these measures need to take effects as soon as possible. Schellekens acknowledges, “This is indeed not fun for citizens and companies, but everyone will understand that it is necessary, ​​as long as it does not take too long.” He says we’ve been at risk level 4 for about 10 days already with the cabinet’s new measures, and the infections have not waned. “This is taking too long.”

The Red Team suggests that if the cabinet announces stricter measures soon, we can get back to regular routines more quickly. “Hopefully in a few weeks, we will be able to resume our life somewhat ‘normal’ and celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve together,” says Schellekens.

If we do lockdown swiftly, the Red Team hopes we can avoid another round of infections. “We are already in the second wave, there is little that can be done about it. But we must avoid getting into a third wave. That would be disastrous. For the citizens, for healthcare, but also for the economy.”

How do you find the Red Team’s advice? Is a short, strict lockdown necessary? Let us know in the comments below.

Image: Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

Brin Andrews
Brin is an avid ice cream eater from the US, calling Amsterdam home since early 2019. As a lover of mountains, life below sea level has been a bit of an adjustment, but she manages to stay afloat with long runs, wine, and frequent travel. Incidentally, these are a few of her favourite topics to write about.


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