“We have to learn to live with the virus.” This week was one of the first statements made by the new Health Minister, Ernst Kuipers. But the Netherlands is not ready for that at the moment mitigation of constant current lock.
Recently, there has been increasing criticism of Corona’s measures, often referring to our neighboring countries: Why would you go to a restaurant or cinema across the border? The countries around us seem to have far fewer problems with high infection rates like a missile. How do they deal with the omicron variable?
There will be no lockdown in Belgium, but measures are still being taken that appear to be the norm in the Netherlands for some time. For example, you must wear face masks in many places, work from home is mandatory, nightclubs are closed and the public is not allowed to sports competitions. The latest procedures were introduced just before Christmas.
The difference is mainly in the capacity of the IC, which is much larger in Belgium. The Belgians have 2,000 beds for more than 11 million inhabitants. The Netherlands has 1,150 beds for more than 17 million people. Belgium is also in the consolidation campaign. “If we feel nervous in Belgium, it is already pure panic in the Netherlands,” virologist Mark van Ranst said earlier. “If there were more intensive care beds in the Netherlands, there probably wouldn’t be a lockdown now.”
In addition, a debate erupted in Belgium about treating corona as influenza. Van Ranst believes this will be possible after the current Omicron wave. By this he means that we don’t have to take a list of actions with each new wave – assuming Omicron is less disgusting. Still, double flu season is still severe, he said. “We have to mentally prepare ourselves so that we can have twice as many deaths, but we will not disturb society as a whole.”
Virologist Stephen van Gucht, who directed the press conferences on Corona in Belgium, has not yet dared to draw this conclusion. Corona measures are still in place, but this is not the case during flu season, so it is also difficult to consider corona as influenza, says Van Guchte. However, he says it will happen one day. “This will be a gradual thing, but not after an omicron wave.”
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