This past week has seen hospitals struggle to cope with the rising number of coronavirus patients. Mayors have begun to worry for their hospitals and await new restrictions, but tonight’s press conference may prove to be a let-down.
Tonight’s press conference will be disheartening for anyone who was hoping for stricter measures.
As speculated earlier this week, Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Minister for Health Hugo de Jonge have decided not to introduce drastic new coronavirus measures. “It is too early to draw any conclusions, to slam on the brakes,” Rutte says.
What will change? If anything
For now, not much will be changing. There will be another press conference next Tuesday where new measures may be announced, but a decision has yet to be made.
But for the time being, Prime Minister has asked that members of the public buckle up and follow the current measures as they are. The plan is for these measures will remain in place through December.
“What we know for sure is that these measures are needed for much longer than four weeks,” Rutte has said.
When asked by RTL about how long he expects these measures to last, De Jonge was in agreement with Rutte: “It’s hard to predict. The current measures might be in place through Christmas or New Years.”
The Prime Minister and Minister of Health believe that the Netherlands needs to wait to see the results of the current measures. The R number is currently 1.16 — this is a decrease, but still above 1.
Number of weekly deaths come close to doubling
This weeks report showed an increase of 10,000 more coronavirus cases compared to last week, at 67,542 new positive tests. Hospitals saw 1,739 new patients in nursing wards and 333 patients in the ICU.
The number of deaths this week came close to doubling those of last week with 329 people losing their battle against the virus.
Hospitals under pressure but stricter measures won’t help
This week has seen The Hague hospital temporarily close its emergency department on Friday due to increasing pressure. Mayor Jan van Zanen of The Hague describes the situation as “actually unacceptable. The pressure is increasing: on the care, the beds and the staff. It is really bad,” says RTL in a separate report.
The heat has also been felt by the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Dordrecht. The hospital notified GPs and ambulances that it cannot accept any more coronavirus patients within the next 24 hours.
The Ministers have said that they believe stricter measures will not relieve the current pressure on hospitals.
Those who will be in the hospital next week are already infected now. This means that regardless of new measures, hospitals will continue to be under pressure due to coronavirus. It would be a waste to take measures now because we may be able to reach our goals with our current measures.
“Our behaviour makes a difference, not so much the measures.”
What about Sinterklaas?
Rutte is hopeful that the current measures will last throughout December. This means that families will be able to celebrate Sinterklaas in small groups with no more than three visitors from different households.
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Feature Image: Press Conference.