SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – New health minister Ernst Kuipers has been criticised by opposition MPs for his support of the 3G coronavirus pass system and for being too optimistic about its impact at Tuesday’s press conference.
Kuipers said during the conference that the use of the 3G passes – which limit admission to certain locations to people who have either recently had coronavirus, been boostered or have a negative test – could cut infections by up to 15%.
The minister was referring to recent research carried out at Delft University of Technology which said 3G could have this impact, if used everywhere apart from at school and home, and if the conditions were optimal.
Kuipers told MPs during a parliamentary debate that he had accurately reflected the research results in his comments. He also said that as far as he is concerned ‘every percentage is worth it’ given that the number of infections is rising steadily.
The number of people being hospitalised with coronavirus is increasing slowly as the Omicron variant takes hold, but the number of actual cases remains difficult to assess because of IT issues.
The daily figures published by the RIVM now appear to be around 10,000 short of the real total and the backlog of cases which have not filtered through from regional health boards has built up to 78,000, the Volkskrant reported on Thursday.
Nevertheless, the figures do indicate a rate of at least 65,000 new infections a day over the past week and an increase of 55% on the previous seven-day period, the paper said.
During Wednesday’s debate on the government’s coronavirus strategy, Kuipers did say he would talk to night clubs and night cafes about the option of introducing a 1G strategy for them – so that only people who have tested negative are allowed in.
Clubs have been closed for almost all of the past two years and still remain shut under the current rules. However, 1G is not an option in more places because of the pressure it would place on testing facilities, he said.