With the lockdown that takes effect early in the morning, the outgoing cabinet mainly wants to buy time. Time to learn more about the omikron variant, give the care air and, above all, to further scale up the booster campaign started too late. That became clear from tonights press conference.
OMT chairman Jaap van Dissel, who spoke alongside Prime Minister Rutte and Minister De Jonge, explained that omikron is particularly clear that it is more contagious. The variant has the property to bypass protection from a vaccine or an infection that has been through. “Its like the virus has put on a different jacket. Our defenses will no longer recognize it.”
But whether omikron is also more dangerous, or less than the currently dominant delta variant, has yet to be seen.
cant wait until there is more clarity about the omikron variant either. “If we wait until we know for sure what its about, were late,” said outgoing Prime Minister Rutte. If omikron is about as sickening as delta, we get more hospitalizations than during the first wave in 2020, Van Dissel made it clear.
“I can hear the whole of the Netherlands sighing, a week before Christmas,” Rutte said, but the lockdown, according to him, is inevitable. “We need to intervene to prevent worse.” He called tonights measures “perhaps the hardest moment of the crisis, after that first TV speech.”
“That we have been in this misery for almost two years now,” Rutte said terribly:
The lockdown, which lasts until January 14 at least, creates space to really kick-start the booster campaign now. But according to Rutte and De Jonge, it is not the case that this heavy measure is necessary to make up for mistakes made earlier. “Other countries, which have started to boost earlier, are now also in trouble,” Rutte said. As an example, he mentioned the United Kingdom and Denmark, where serious measures are also being considered against omikron.
Nevertheless, inviting new vintages to the booster prick has been quiet for a few days. No one under the age of 60 has still been summoned for the jab, but thats going to change from next Monday, promised De Jonge. According to him, the over-60s who had their last shot less than 6 months ago have been invited. After that, the rest of the adult population comes their turn. Around 7 January, everyone must be able to make an appointment.
De Jonge would like to increase the pace further. The vaccines are there, but the inhibitory factor is the availability of staff, he made it clear.
“We will do everything we can to put as many pricks as possible as quickly as possible”:
From 5am tomorrow morning, the Netherlands will therefore be locked for 4.5 weeks, for a variant that is still fairly little known about. Is it possible that this measure is ultimately taken for nothing because omikron is not that dangerous after all? “Thats not plausible,” Rutte said.
“It can be along,” noted Van Dissel. “But we havent had that often with this virus.”