Relaxation of corona measures only possible in mid-February, says RIVM director

Jaap van Dissel, director of the RIVM, believes relaxation of the current coronavirus measures will only be possible in February after the first groups of people to be vaccinated have received their second injections. 

“We are going to vaccinate in January, a second dose will follow in mid-February. So from that period, partial relaxation is probably possible for the groups that have been vaccinated,” Van Dissel explained.

But the trick will be knowing how to relax measures in such a way that numbers don’t soar again immediately afterwards, the director admits. “You would rather not go into a hard lockdown again.”

Another lockdown

Critics have argued that the Netherlands took too long to enforce stronger measures when numbers began rising in the autumn. The result was that a hard lockdown was needed.

However, Van Dissel says action will be taken sooner if numbers rise again in February, reports RTL Nieuws. This is because the signal values have been reduced, meaning that new measures will be implemented at lower numbers.

Currently, if there are seven infections per 100,000 inhabitants per day, and 40 hospital and ten ICU admissions per day, this warrants stronger measures in the Netherlands, which of course we have now far exceeded. By how much these signal values will be lowered is unclear.

Public opinion

Van Dissel wonders how the public will react to lowering the signal values. If we go into a hard lockdown again with lower numbers, this may seem odd, reports NOS.

“But Ireland has such a system of fast, hard lockdowns, that’s where things are going pretty well now. So it could be an approach, although that is an island with its own culture,” says Van Dissel. “We scientists are not ashamed to change our view and progress from there, although it is a mortal sin in politics.”

What do you think of the RIVM’s new approach to coronavirus measures? Tell us in the comments below.

Feature Image: Uitzending Gemist/Wikimedia Commons/CC3.0

Emily Burger
Emily Burger
Emily grew up in South Africa but has also lived in Egypt, the UK, Canada and now the Netherlands. She first came here for her Bachelors in Arts and Culture at Maastricht University and soon fell in love with the land of canals, clogs and cheese. When she's not daydreaming about sci-fi movies or countries yet to explore, you can find her writing for DutchReview.


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