Infections figures in Friesland, and a slow vaccine rollout nationwide suggest that it is not yet time to loosen regulations
By Thomas Ansell
Coronavirus figures for yesterday (April 5) via the Dutch governments’ Coronavirus dashboard show a decline in confirmed cases across all Groningen and Drenthe, with Friesland seeing more modest numbers than last week. Though this may be due to lower testing rates over the Easter weekend, the RIVM public health organisation has said that the upcoming ‘third wave’ of the Coronavirus may not be as severe as first thought (via the NOS).
Infections in the North
Friesland has the highest infection figures in the North, with 195 confirmed cases yesterday. This is the same figure as the day before, and is down on the values for last week; with 273 new cases confirmed on April 2. It should be noted that at the start of March, Friesland was recording about 120-140 new cases each day.
The situation in Groningen and Drenthe is more positive, however, with only 95 new cases recorded in Drenthe yesterday; 53 fewer than the day before. Cases spiked up to 249 new infections on March 28, and yesterday’s total is the lowest since March 8. The Province of Groningen, on the other hand, recorded only 84 new infections yesterday, 18 fewer than the day before. Infection figures have been rising and falling like the tides in Groningen, and it remains to be seen whether this is indicative of a downward trend overall.
Meanwhile, the RIVM public health institute has said that it doesn’t expect the ‘third wave’ of the Coronavirus in the Netherlands to be as severe as previously thought. Earlier the institute had expected a peak of 1,400 people in Intensive Care around May 1, however it now projects a peak in the middle of April with around 800 people in an IC ward.
However, the more positive picture comes with a number of caveats. “This is under the assumption that in the coming week a large number more people will be vaccinated. A second assumption is that Coronavirus regulations remain in place”, says Outbreak Management Team member Marc Bonten (who is also a Professor at the University Medical Centre Utrecht).
In any case, it seems unlikely that Coronavirus restrictions will be lifted until the ‘R-rate’ falls to under 1. The number of vaccines given out in the Netherlands currently stands at about 2.8 million, and the Dutch government expects another 624,361 to be administered this week.