Don’t relax rules until hospital admissions drop 20%, health experts say


Government health advisors say no further coronavirus measures should be relaxed until the number of people being treated for coronavirus in hospital has gone down by 20% over an average of seven days.

There is no question of this being the case at the moment, the Outbreak Management Team says in its latest recommendations to ministers.

The peak, of around 2,700 patients, would appear to have been reached and the likelihood of a further rise has reduced, the OMT said. However, the advisors said, the crowds on King’s Day and the busy high streets make it extra important to make sure that there is a real drop in hospital admissions before making any more changes.

Last month the OMT recommended that no measures at all be relaxed until the number of hospital admissions had fallen by 10%. Ministers, however, decided to go ahead with scrapping the curfew and allowing limited pavement café opening, despite the lack of clear evidence of a reduction.

At the weekend health minister Hugo de Jonge said it is still too early to take the next step in the five step plan to phase out the coronavirus restrictions, delaying any new relaxation of the rules until May 18 at the earliest.

The decision means museums, zoos and gyms cannot reopen on May 11 as had been hoped.


However, De Jonge has pledged to give people more clarity about the options for summer holidays next week, and, according to the AD, travel companies are expecting a run on sunshine breaks.

Holiday company Corendon, for example, expects that 60% to 70% of its customers this year will book no more than a month before their departure date.

An increasing number of countries, such as Spain, Greece and Italy, have said that they will welcome tourists this summer, as long as they have been vaccinated.

The OMT has also recommended that no more experiments with ‘coronavirus-free’ events under the Fieldlab banner be carried out until the rules can be further relaxed.

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