Outbreak Management Team advises hard lockdown: almost everything closed

The Outbreak Management Team advises the cabinet to set a strict lockdown to slow down the advance of the omikron variant. The experts want almost everything to close: only the essential stores such as supermarkets should remain open, The Hague sources confirm.

This would mean that, among other things, the hospitality industry, non-essential stores and the culture sector should close again. All schools and other educational institutions should also close as far as experts are concerned.

Earlier today it became clear that at the OMT there are major concerns about the rapid spread of the variant.

Whether the cabinet is also taking over the advice is not yet clear, but it is the expectation. Tomorrow there will be an emergency consultation from the outgoing cabinet in response to the OMT advice. The ministers decide on possible additional measures.

It may be that the consultation tomorrow will immediately lead to decisions about new measures, which will therefore be announced. But it is also possible that there will be further talks on Sunday or after the weekend.

Figures from Amsterdam show that the share of the omikron variant in the total number of infections doubles every two to three days. It is expected that the variant will be dominant in the capital next week. According to the OMT, there is a race against time: will the administration of booster pricks to all adults be fast enough in the coming weeks to get ahead of the omikron wave?

According to OMT member Marion Koopmans, it is important to take and pierce additional measures as soon as possible. In this way, the expected impact of the more contagious omikron variant can be limited, until there is more clarity to what extent the variant is or is not more ill.

Effect booster on hospital admissions

โ€œWith all vaccines used in the Netherlands, you can see that the antibodies produced against omikron are significantly lower,โ€ Koopmans said in talk show Op1. According to her research, it is now clear that the current vaccines work much less well to prevent the spread of the virus.

โ€œWe still expect the effect of vaccination on hospital admissions, especially after the booster,โ€ says Koopmans. She expects that there will only be real clarity in a week or two. โ€œBut if you wait until then, you may already be in full swing.โ€ The virologist advises people to get tested before visiting during the Christmas season, and to keep the circle of people you have close contact with as small as possible. โ€œIts very wise to take that seriously into account.โ€

The omikron variant spreads two to three times as fast as the delta variant, OMT chairman Jaap van Dissel announced in a briefing to the House of Representatives on Wednesday. He stated that the rapid spread is probably because people who have been vaccinated a little longer ago are insufficiently protected against the variant. Van Dissel therefore insists on the rapid administration of booster vaccines.

Measures in other countries

Earlier, other European countries also announced measures because of the variant, or they are considering taking them. For example, Denmark wants to start administering booster pricks earlier for people 40 years and older. The Danes also want to close theaters, biscopes and museums.

The British also want to accelerate the booster campaign. There, the number of omikron cases doubles every two to three days.

In Norway, 90,000 to 300,000 omikron infections are expected per day in three weeks and fifty to a hundred hospitalizations. The country therefore announced, among other things, that alcohol should no longer be served in bars and restaurants. People also have to work from home, unless that really is not possible otherwise.