Two experts have suggested the idea
The Coronavirus outbreak is not as prevalent in the three northern provinces as it has been in the rest of The Netherlands, so, could it be possible that Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe might be released from restrictive measures sooner than in the rest of the country? Experts think so, according to an article in the Dagblad van het Noorden.
In the Northern provinces there are now about 1,000 infections, which means that Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe have a modest share of the total of 27,000 infections across the country, as you can see on the RIVM’s infection spread map. Aside from the relatively lower numbers of infections in the North, its hospitals are also not overloaded, and there is a large capacity for testing in the region. Experts already want to start thinking about the role of the North within the exit strategy, known as the ‘intelligent lockdown’ of the country.
Professor of infectious disease modeling Sake de Vlas (Erasmus University Rotterdam) says that it would be logical to first look to the North when scaling down the lock-down. Peter Boncz, professor by special appointment of data management at the VU University in Amsterdam, also says that you could first scale down measures in the northern provinces, provided the conditions are right.
Naturally, we mustn’t move too quickly or suddenly: Bert Niesters, head of the clinical virology department at the UMCG, reports in the newspaper that the Northern exit idea is an interesting option. He does say that it is important that you also know for sure that there are no ‘under the radar’ outbreaks of the fires in nursing homes and at GPs offices.
According to the Dagblad van het Noorden, other countries are already working with different regional strategies. In China, for example, different measures apply per region. Such a regional scenario is also being examined in Germany.
The RIVM says that it is still too early for a Northern exit plan. The strategy will, however, be investigated by the Outbreak Management Team. Experts previously said that the measures can only be scaled back if the pandemic is better controlled.
Image via the RIVM