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As expected, the Cabinet canceled the latest anti-Corona measures. People no longer have to self-test if they complain. If they don’t feel sick, they no longer have to stay at home, and can even go to work in consultation with their employer.
After the cabinet meeting, Minister Kuipers said that from now on, Corona will be dealt with in the same way as other respiratory infections. “Now you can call it a kind of flu.”
The virus will never go away, he stressed, but that “almost everyone in the Netherlands has now built such a defense” that the consequences are much less severe than before.
He indicated that those infected with Corona are still entering every day. The hospital currently has about 900 coronavirus patients. These are all people who are already suffering from frail health.
The Outbreak Management Team (OMT) had already advised at the end of last month to cancel the latest measures. That has now been taken over by the government.
Kuipers spoke of a private moment, “to think about.” Three years have passed since the first case of corona was diagnosed in the Netherlands.
The Cabinet called on citizens to continue to use common sense in case of flu or cold complaints and to continue adhering to general hygiene measures, such as washing hands, ventilation, and coughing and sneezing into the elbow.
It was decided not to organize a new vaccination round in the spring. OMT has recommended it as well. GGD test lanes will be closed soon. Throughout the year, the OMT team will check whether an additional vaccination round in the fall is still beneficial.
Meanwhile, the government continues to monitor where and how often the virus spreads through wastewater screening.
For people in the care sector, the Cabinet’s decision means that staff with complaints can go to work. Sector organization Actiz says this doesn’t change the fact that organizations should continue to use common sense.
“Suppose there is an outbreak in a section of a nursing home where people are very vulnerable,” says Chairman Westerlaken. “Then you can of course still choose to work in protective clothing again, for example. Or we’ll go back to testing and isolation. But that will now be considered much more for each organisation.”
Patient organization PostCovid NL, for people with long-term complaints, is calling on people to continue testing and stay home if they test positive. “Because of the downsizing, thousands of people with long-term complaints are likely to be added,” says director Michael Rutgers.
GGDs will stop testing for Corona after next Friday. Next week, sites will remain open for people who need proof of recovery because they are going to a country that requires it. After March 17, this will be the task of the commercial parties.
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