June 9, 2023

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The Corona pandemic has ended, except in the House of Representatives

The Corona pandemic has ended, except in the House of Representatives

According to Minister Ernst Kuipers (Health Care, D66), “it can now be compared to other respiratory diseases”. According to the World Health Organization, there is no longer an “international public health emergency”. However, the House of Representatives debated Corona for hours on Wednesday. The day before, MPs were updated as usual at a technical briefing by, among others Good age Jaap van Dissel – Director of RIVM, who will retire at the end of this year.

The Cabinet decided already in March that Covid-19 had reached the “endemic stage”. The virus is still present, but the population has acquired immunity through vaccination or a previous infection. This is why the latest Corona measures have also ended and the virus has disappeared into the background.

Therefore, the debate surrounding “coronavirus developments” – to which the topic of “pandemic preparation” was added for the first time – was somewhat like mustard after a meal. But for the Corona skeptics, it turns out to be a great opportunity to get all the known criticism out of the closet again. Member of Parliament Pepijn van Houwelingen (FvD) spoke of Corona as “the biggest deception in Dutch history”, “vaccine harm”, “ridiculous measures for Corona”, and a virus that was “modified in a laboratory”. Wyburn van Haga spoke of doctors being silenced when they were right afterwards and called former care minister Hugo de Jonge (CDA) someone who had “declared a blatant inaccuracy”.

This led to great annoyance among the other parties. “We are looking back at the past three years. Judith Thieln (VVD) said cautiously. She referred to the upcoming parliamentary inquiry to assess corona policy – the research proposal will be submitted soon.

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The VVD itself, like most of the parties, preferred to talk about the problems still caused by Corona. With a point on one: covid lung. There is growing concern in the House of Representatives about this. MPs wonder if enough research is being done, finding the one-off compensation (€15,000) for health care workers who contracted lung covid during the first corona virus wave is too small and the pool too limited.


There is a lot of uncertainty about the number of lung COVID patients. During the technical briefing, estimates varied widely. Jaap van Dessel spoke of 400,000, Jolande Sap of the social impact team of about 93,000 people, Alfred Olde Loohuis of C-support, which supports patients, believes that more than 40,000 patients.

Read also: How many lung patients are there? No doctor knows

Many MPs would like to record the number of lung COVID patients. Kuipers believes this will lead to more workload in the healthcare sector. Nor does he think it is necessary: ​​”We can already make a good estimate of the scale of the problem and the variety of complaints.”

Kuipers promised the House that the GGDs would receive additional money in the coming years to better prepare for a new epidemic. The cabinet is also working to create a national center of expertise for lung virus, which it should learn more about in June.

Kuipers also couldn’t resist stepping back in time and looking back at the Corona crisis, “which is really behind us”. He said he had “learned lessons”. Such as paying more attention to the social and economic consequences of the measures. He specifically mentioned closing schools and closing sports facilities for young people: “We had to do it differently. This has long-term effects.”