“This may be your last discussion as Minister of Health, so I would like to thank you for all your efforts.” Words from GroenLinks MP Westerveld at the end of the Corona debate, Wednesday evening, to Hugo de Jonge.
Other deputies also expressed the outgoing minister’s commitment to the Corona epidemic and exchanged best wishes for the holiday and birthdays. But whether they won’t really see each other before then is the question: There is a real chance that coronavirus measures will be discussed again before Christmas.
Rutte and De Jonge said it the day before at the press conference: We have to do it Prepare yourself for the next Omicron wave. Concerns are great and serious, de Jong now reiterated in the House of Representatives.
In light of this, the majority of members of the House of Representatives supported extending the current package of measures, such as the evening shutdown, until January 14. There were questions: For example, the opposition parties in De Jonge wanted to know why primary schools still had to be closed and not to consider other measures. De Jong, who also said he was “very disappointed with the decision”, said there was really no other way and noted the high number of infections in primary education.
Education Minister Slopp – who has insisted on keeping schools open for a long time – spoke of a “bitter pill”, but stressed how quickly things could change in a week. Hence the early closure of schools and the expansion of other measures.
Whether these together will be enough to counteract the wave of infection with the omikron variant remains to be seen. “We still don’t know much about the new replacement,” De Jonge confirmed. Omikron is expected to become dominant in early January. While the number of omicron infections is slowly declining, the number of omicron infections is expected to increase rapidly in January.
The Outbreak management team will meet again next Friday. De Jong said there may be more information out of England at the time. A new “weighing moment” will likely follow, and additional measures will be announced next week.
Meanwhile, the government repeats –Just like RIVM this morning– The message “Reinforcement, reinforcement, reinforcement”. British research shows that this could provide some solace in protecting against the omikron variant. De Jonge acknowledges that everything must be done as quickly as possible. “It really is an atonement.”
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