Thursday, December 2, 2021

Dutch Intensive Care Boss Calls For Tough Isolation To Curb Virus

GAGA, Netherlands (AP) – Social distancing became mandatory again in the Netherlands on Wednesday as coronavirus infections skyrocketed and the country’s leading intensive care physician called for even tougher measures to contain the pandemic.

Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said a press conference scheduled for December 3 on the coronavirus response has been postponed until Friday.

“The picture is grim and disturbing,” De Jonge told reporters in The Hague.

The Netherlands is in the midst of a surge that has set a series of new daily records for coronavirus infections in recent weeks. The country’s Public Health Institute last week recorded a 39% rise in infections, as well as an increase in hospital admissions to hospitals and intensive care units.

More on the COVID-19 pandemic

“The turn that we want – should – see this week … to keep the pressure on the healthcare system from getting too strong, has to happen soon or we’ll have to force it,” De Jonge said.

The government has sought advice from a panel of experts and “looks forward to making a decision on Friday,” De Jonge said.

Diederik Gommers, head of the National Association of Intensive Care Departments, issued a call on Tuesday night for tough lockdowns, including school closures, which the government sought to avoid.

Gommers told a committee of legislators that the nation’s hospitals are 10 days away from being so overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients that intensive care physicians will have to start making choices about which critically ill patients will be treated.

According to the organization that assigns patients to hospitals, there are currently about 500 patients with COVID-19 in the Dutch intensive care units, with a total capacity of 1,066. Gommers said the number of beds could be increased to 1,200-1250 and that about 50 COVID-19 patients are admitted to intensive care units every day.

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He said the government’s goal of 1,350 beds is unattainable because many intensive care workers are currently not working, either sick or because they have children who test positive and are forced to self-isolate.

He said the only way to ease the pressure on intensive care units is “to achieve a very rapid decline in hospital admissions. And the fastest way to cut (trick) is tough measures, and I think that means lockdown. And that includes schools, because I think that if you don’t close schools, you won’t stop the infection. “

The numbers show that children aged 5 to 11 had the highest infection rate in the last week in the Netherlands. The Netherlands and the rest of Europe are awaiting a decision by the European Union Medicines Regulatory Authority on Pfizer’s request to approve the COVID-19 vaccine for primary school children.

The Dutch government, which was in guardian mode amid protracted coalition talks after the March 17 elections, has imposed a partial isolation of the country since November 13, ordering bars, restaurants and supermarkets to close at 20:00. close at 6:00 pm and people were forced to work from home.

The government made social distancing compulsory Wednesday for everyone 18 and older in places where COVID passes are not required in the country. The government has already strongly recommended social distancing – to stay 1.5 meters away from people who are not members of their family. By making it mandatory, law enforcement officials can fine people who do not obey.

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