Sybrand Buma is also the Mayor of Leeuwarden
Translated by Thomas Ansell
As announced yesterday during Dutch PM Mark Rutte’s press conference, the Coronavirus response in the Netherlands is becoming more regional. This has thrust the Veiligheidsregios (‘Safety Regions’) into importance.
As reported by the Omrop Fryslân, this shift will mean more difference between safety regions in the Netherlands. “We know things in a lot more granular detail [compared to national bodies], and can precisely see where local outbreaks occur, and what’s going on in a small area. Therefore, we can get a better local understanding [to inform our response]”, says Buma, who is both the Chair of the Veiligheidsregio Fryslân, and the Mayor of Leeuwarden.
“We have to do things in concert with the rest of the country, too”, he said, “when an outbreak occurs we have to look at where it is spreading around, and if it’s bigger than just our region then more stringent regulations have to spread further. If it’s really local, then the regulations can also be local”. In Friesland, for example, a local outbreak occurred at a youth-focused campsite on the island of Terschelling. “The Veiligheidsregio shut the campsite, because the Mayor of Terschelling had indicated it might be necessary”, said Buma.
The Mayor is also supportive of the continued ban on nightclubs, announced during PM Rutte’s press conference. “Lots of outbreaks have come about because of a large group of young people have been partying and spending time in close-packed crowds. It’s unfortunate for business owners, but it just can’t be allowed to happen. The risk is too great”, said Buma.
Minister of Health, Hugo de Jonge, also said during the press conference that the Netherlands won’t bring in a system with limited freedom for people in risk groups, and more freedom for those deemed ‘lower risk’. Buma agrees with this, saying that young people need to remain careful, even if they are not ‘at risk’: “lots of outbreaks are now occurring within younger groups. The risk is that young people could pass on the virus to their grandparents, and then you could have an outbreak in a care home. Eventually everyone comes into contact with everyone in this small country.”