The official coronavirus death toll in the Netherlands rose by four overnight to 6,057, the public health institute RIVM said on Saturday.
A further nine people have been admitted to hospital and 179 more people have tested positive for the virus, taking that total to 46,640.
Despite the very low infection rate, RIVM infectious diseases expert Jaap van Dissel told broadcaster NOS on Saturday that the room to further ease lockdown measures is now running out.
However, making the most of tracing the contacts of people who have tested positive will make it possible to do more, Van Dissel said. ‘This does people will have to report in if they have symptoms, and speed [in giving test results] is also crucial,’ he said.
‘We do see opportunities there for improvement. Now the figures are so low, it would all seem to be less critical, but that may change in the autumn, so we have to make work of this.’
A new report by accountancy group KPMG and VU University researchers suggests that if the Netherlands focused on maximum control and containing coronavirus, there would be ‘significant benefits’ for both the economy and public health.
Sharpening up the contact tracing system and making sure the key R or reproduction number remains below 1 would generate €123bn for the economy by 2022 and potentially stop 50,000 people dying, the report said.
In particular, testing should be further ramped up, 80% of contacts should be actively traced, and everyone arriving in the Netherlands via Schiphol airport should undergo a test, the researchers said.
‘There should also be a major public information campaign for both the public and employers to stress the importance of testing, including when symptoms are only mild,’ KPMG Health partner David Ikkersheim said.
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