Why is this news?
There are now several variants of the coronavirus. The variant in India is the newest and most unknown. Previously, you may have already heard about the British variant and other forms of the virus in Brazil and South Africa. There are a lot of stories about those variants.
What do we know about the new variant?
This new Indian variant of the coronavirus may be more dangerous and contagious than the ones we already knew. People who already have antibodies due to previous infections could also get sick again. But we dont know for sure yet.
What we do know is that the number of coronavirus infections has been growing considerably in India for a month. Meanwhile, 300,000 infestations are being introduced every day. Whether all new infections in India are with the new variant, researchers there do not yet know. It is also possible that the figures have increased so quickly, for example, by religious parties with millions of people and without coronare rules.
That creates problems in healthcare. Hospitals are so crowded that people who are infected have to join in line. When it finally comes to their turn, hospitals regularly refer them to another place, where sometimes there is no place left.
What about the Indian corona variant in the Netherlands?
As far as known, there are two cases of infection with the Indian variant in the Netherlands. Health Minister De Jonge says that based on information from the RIVM. How the virus got here, we dont know.
To prevent even more people in the Netherlands from getting infected with the new variant, aircraft from India are now not allowed to land in the Netherlands. That applies until May 1, at least. Normally, there are about seven flights from India to the Netherlands every week. Most passengers change to another flight at Schiphol Airport.
The flight ban does not apply to people with a medical background. Theyre still allowed to take the plane to India. Flights with equipment for the country are also allowed.
Four days ago, Healthcare Minister De Jonge did not think that was necessary. He then said that, according to the World Health Organization, the new variant is not so dangerous. That is what the demissionary cabinet now comes back to after an emergency advice from the RIVM.
Hows it going in India now?
The hospitals in India can barely handle all these infections. The European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States are therefore sending medical supplies to India. There is a great shortage of, for example, oxygen machines and medicines. You have to think of oxygen tanks from the United Kingdom and France. And stuff for coronavaccins from the United States.
The Netherlands has also promised to help India. The minister who deals with this is Minister Kaag of Development Cooperation. She said that our country is giving EUR 2.5 million to the Red Cross for coronan aid. Of this, EUR 1 million goes to India.
There is also an international emergency fund for poor countries that need vaccines quickly. Its called the International Covax Program. Two weeks ago, the Netherlands gave 40 million to that fund. Part of that money is now going to India.