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update

Update 08-12

So here’s an update based on the press conference of tonight and some additional info.

The foresights are not good. Aside from the 10.000 Covid deaths since February, the infection rates of the past week-or-two have not decreased, but rather increased. The same applies for hospitalisation rates and ICU-admittance. With an average of 6000+ new confirmed cases and 20+ ICU-admittances, it is not possible to relax measures over Christmas and New Years, on the contrary even: if Covid-cases keep developing like this, it is possible stricter measures will be announced before Christmas. Around 88.000 people in the Netherlands now are estimated to be contagious, and not all of those people stay at home. That is a serious health risk, so please, pretty please, stay at home if you feel (even a little) sick.

Again, measures will not be relaxed for Christmas. That means we will have to stick to the following main rules:

  • Maximum 3 guests visiting per day
  • Restaurants will remain closed
  • If you’re visiting or have visitors over, keep 1,5m distance from the other household
  • If you feel even a little under the weather, don’t go/don’t have visitors over.

Unsurprisingly, the same main points were repeated tonight once again:

  • Wash your hands
  • Stay home and get tested if you feel sick
  • Housemates and close contacts should stay at home too
  • Get friends to go shopping for you
  • Work from home
  • Limit live social interactions (digital is fine of course)
  • Only go shopping if its necessary
  • Shop alone

Essentially, the foresights at this point are the same as four weeks ago; if the cases decrease again, we might see some more things possible mid-January. The currently applicable measures do also still apply. Catch up on those at the homepage.

Is there no positive news at all?
Well, there’s one small thing. January will see trial runs with reopening cultural places and possibly some more opportunities for sports to resume. These will be highly local and rather strict tests, such as theaters allowing some more audience. Everything will be closely monitored, and the focus will most likely be on walking routes, rapid tests upon entry, and other similar small things. A lot is still unclear regarding this.

The worries regarding youth can no longer be ignored. That is why more money will be made available for ‘youth projects’. It is however rather unclear what these will look like and who will be targeted as being ‘youth’. Teamsports for youth between 18 and 27 will most likely be resumed mid-January, so that is something to look forward to.

If you worry about your favourite club, bar or restaurant, you are not the only one. Even the Dutch Cabinet has now agreed to a new economic relief package fro the hospitality sector. More on that will be announced tomorrow morning. I will most likely not update you on that, as it is a rather specific economic press conference. If you have specific questions regarding this however, feel free to ask me!

Then there is some more info about vaccinations. The previous estimate of January 4th might have been too optimistic. New vaccine availability numbers show that the initial round of vaccinations will be smaller, but the general line still stands (first healthcare workers, people living in healthcare institutions, then 60- with health risks). As soon as the first real round of vaccinations has been, there is a little bit of optimism to relax some of the measures, as the weakest of society would at that point be protected. This could however very well take until March 2021.

Now, I want to finish this list of bad news with some rumours you may have heard of.
Some of the biggest names in hospitality in the country have announced they will reopen their restaurants, cafes and bars on January 17th, regardless of the measures that would apply at that point. It is, at this point, not clear to what extent this is a threat or a promise. Within the hospitality sector there is quite a lot of discussion regarding this, as it would obviously go against governmental guidelines. I really do not know whether this will happen. If it does happen however, it might have significant consequences for infection rates and subsequently measures. It is impossible to say anything concrete about whether the sector will actually open. As soon as more information becomes available, I will let you know.

Secondly, an internal memo from the Ministry of Economic Affairs leaked to the Dutch press. In this memo, it was suggested that re-opening the hospitality sector would not lead to an increase in cases, and could even lead to a decrease in cases. This sparked a debate in parliament (currently in session), but the Cabinet has clearly underlined they do not support this memo. It seems to be merely an economic perspective at this point. Perhaps more news regarding this will come out at some point this week however.

With all the bad news, this update is quite an extensive one. Both Mark Rutte and I feel rather sad not to be able to give you any more positive news, but him and I want to urge you strongly to stick to the Covid measures, to behave responsibly and to take care of eachother. Help your friends out, but keep a safe distance from them. Stay strong, and if there’s any questions, you know where to find me.

PS. Quite a few questions keep coming in about travel. This website will see an extensive update on travel guidelines, restrictions, requirements and PCR-tests tomorrow.

Categories
update

(Minor) update 30-11

Hey everyone! Here’s a minor update about a few things.

As of tomorrow (December 1st), face masks are mandatory in public spaces. Not wearing one might result in a fine of €95.

The infection rates in NL bounce up and down every day, but in terms of weekly trends it is more or less stable around 5000 infections per day. Consequence of that is that more relaxed measures in December are far from certain. More on that will become clear on the press conference of next week Tuesday (Dec. 8th).

The highest infection rates are now amongst 10-20 y/o’s and 50-60y/o’s, and in terms of regional spread, the past week (roughly) has seen particularly high infection rates in Flevoland and Twente (~280 per 100.000 inhabitants), while the Northern provinces and Zeeland are doing relatively well (~100 per 100.000). The rest of the country is somewhere in between regionally speaking (~200 per 100.000). Local hotspots do exist though, but not in major cities or places.

As infection rates amongst youth are rising, there’s a strong call from the government to follow the Covid guidelines and measures. Not sure what’s currently applicable? Check above!

That’s all for now, if there’s any questions or specific concerns, feel free to ask! Easiest way to reach us is sending an email to info@dutchcovidnews.nl

Categories
update

Update 20-11

Hey everyone!
Mark Rutte just held his weekly press conference and mentioned some slightly concerning things.

It seems the infection rate of cases is increasing again. That doesn’t help for the prospects for Christmas, to say the least. Once more, please minimize social contacts, keep 1,5m distance, wash your hands, wear your facemasks. You know the drill.
Over the past two weeks there’s been quite a steep decrease, but that has now pretty much come to a standstill. Please behave responsibly, we all want to celebrate Christmas.

On Christmas: the Outbreak Management Team has put out a recommendation to celebrate Christmas and New Years with no more than 6 guests per day, all living in the same saftety region. Additionally, they once again stress to be careful to stick to the general guidelines (as above). Note this is not (yet) an official governmental guideline!

In general, let’s together make sure we don’t gift ourselves a third wave of Covid this December.

Now here’s some fresh positive news on vaccines:
In the first three months of 2021, there will be approximately 3,5 million vaccines available. The first vaccines available will go to long-term care institutions (elderly homes, living facilities for disabled, etc). That does most likely include the people who live there, not necessarily the staff of the facilities. For specific locations, it might just be the staff that gets vaccinated because of the specific situation at that facility.

Next up will be age group that’s at the biggest risk of the virus: 60+. The eldest are up first, working down to 60y/o’s. Next group will be 60- people with a health risk and healthcare employees that are at significant covid risks. Expectation is that this plan has little to vaccines left for general use then, those would have to wait for the next batch (unclear what/when/why those would become available. I’ll let you know if I know more!)

Now, this is a loose translation of the formal roadmap for vaccination as can be found here (in Dutch only at this point) https://www.gezondheidsraad.nl/documenten/adviezen/2020/11/19/strategieen-voor-covid-19-vaccinatie.

Main takeaway about what has just been published about the vaccinations: they’ll be voluntary and free, and available from GP’s, company doctors and GGD. But it’s gonna take a while still, but by that time there’ll be both a large governmental infomercial campaign and I’ll be here to help!

As always, if you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to ask!