SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Two high profile government health advisors have gone public with their concerns about the government’s strategy for dealing with the surge in coronavirus cases and have called for a tough response.
Diederik Gommers, head of the Dutch intensive care association, has warned that hospitals will be faced with a ‘code black’ situation, in which they are forced to choose who to treat, within 10 days.
On Tuesday, new figures national health council NZa said 49 out of the 73 Dutch hospitals are delaying non-essential treatments and operating theatre capacity has been cut by 29%.
Rather than debate the introduction of a 2G system, which excludes the unvaccinated from cafes and cinemas, ministers should be preparing to implement a hard lockdown, Gommers told MPs in a parliamentary briefing.
It is, he said, impossible to scale up the number of intensive care beds because an increasing number of staff are home with children who have coronavirus.
The hearing was called to discuss the government’s plans to expand the use of coronavirus passes. But it would much more sensible, Gommers said, to talk about the introduction of a hard lockdown from next week, including school closures.
Meanwhile, microbiologist and doctor Marc Bonten told Nieuwsuur that it is ‘incredibly important’ that the cabinet dares to take difficult decisions. ‘Look at the situation in hospitals and today’s figures,’ he said.
‘Look at the support for the current measures and how they are being implemented. Something has to be done and politicians have to act responsibly. And that means the cabinet as well as MPs.’
At the moment, ministers are trying to prevent a ‘code black’ situation, don’t want to introduce tough measures and want to steer clear of compulsory vaccination, he said. But these three options cannot be combined, he said.
‘These are the options we have, and politicians have to make choices.’
The Telegraaf reported on Tuesday that ministers are preparing to bring forward the December 3 press conference to Monday or Tuesday. They have already brought back compulsory social distancing from Wednesday, with the threat of a €95 fine for repeat offenders.
Keeping 1.5 metres apart is not required in places where visitors and customers have to show a coronavirus pass to get entry.