Minister Kuipers: “The ability of international cooperation is not a priority in the long-term approach to confronting Corona.”

Minister Kuipers: “The ability of international cooperation is not a priority in the long-term approach to confronting Corona.”

According to Health Minister Ernst Kuipers, the best way to combat Corona is not to focus on the additional capacity in intensive care units, but to focus on preventing the spread of the virus. “We should focus on keeping as many people out as possible, rather than increasing the number of intensive care beds indefinitely to accommodate that.”

This is what he says news hour During a talk about the long-term approach to the Corona crisis, he was sent to the Senate and House of Representatives today. It shows how the Cabinet wants to prepare the country for a possible new wave of Corona and wants to prevent far-reaching measures such as lockdown from being necessary again.

Peak period

“Millions of people have been infected during the Corona period,” Kuipers says. “In the first three months of this year alone, there were 6 million infections, one in three Dutch people. This resulted in a total of 100,000 people hospitalized.”

If it happens in a short period of time, “no healthcare system in the world can accommodate that, not even the Netherlands,” says Kuipers. “We have periods where the number of infections has increased by 70 percent in a week. If the capacity in the intensive care unit is 20 percent higher, you can continue for two days.”

Not the weak spot

In the meantime, the pressure on the ICU remains great. Nationwide, there are now between 100,000 and 120,000 more people than before coronavirus on the waiting list for treatment.

Ewan van der Horst, President of the Dutch Society of Intensive Care, He said last Saturday in news hour That although more nurses were trained during the crisis, many of them have left. Van der Horst: “We don’t want to stop here, but we keep growing so soon we will have more open beds with more people. So when the wave comes again, we can absorb it better.”

However, integrated circuits are not the weak spot in the Corona domain, Minister Kuipers believes. “The intensive care unit is the last resort for a corona patient. This is a situation that you want to avoid at all costs. For the case where there are no corona patients, the capacity has been enough for years, and we also have additional capacity in the past two years who have had corona.”

Social Impact Team

Another striking point of the long-term approach: in addition to the OMT, there will also be a Social Impact Team (MIT), which will advise on the social, societal and economic impact of the Corona measures. Former GroenLinks Party Chairman Jolande Sap becomes president.

“If you focus on the infection, the viral segment, the degree of illness and the number of patients, you may lose sight of the other aspects,” Kuipers says. “For example, the significant impact of the measures on education. That is why we made sure that there was now a different advice in addition to the advice of the OMT.”


In previous Corona periods, Minister Kuipers’ predecessor, Hugo de Jonge, regularly faced the limitations of his position. For example, he was not the head of the GGDs. It was not mentioned in the plan that this was arranged.

“We just created a national infectious disease control function for this,” Kuipers says. “They have to manage GGDs centrally. Additionally, I’m working with the National Acute Care Network and with acute care districts with the question: How do we ensure that management is more straightforward in a crisis situation.”

Watch the full interview with Minister Kuipers here:

“The probability of corona infections increasing again at some time is high”

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