The government should enforce existing coronavirus rules and bring back social distancing rather than bring in extra restrictions for people who have not been vaccinated, a member of the government’s outbreak management team (OMT) has told Nieuwsuur.
Marc Bonten said specific rules for unvaccinated people would be hard to enforce, partly because there are no central records of where they live.
Health minister Hugo de Jonge hinted that people who have not had the vaccine – around 13% of the adult population – could be treated differently when the cabinet announces changes to the rules next Tuesday, after consulting the OMT.
The announcement has been brought forward following a steep rise in hospital admissions in the last two weeks. The public health agency RIVM has calculated that people who are unvaccinated are 33 times more likely to end up in intensive care if they catch coronavirus.
De Jonge said following a cabinet meeting on Monday: ‘Is imposing additional measures on the whole of society justified when we know that a section of society is in need of extra protection? The epidemic is increasingly an epidemic of the unvaccinated.’
Bonten said the focus on unvaccinated people was understandable, but questioned whether separate rules would work in practice and called for stricter checks on QR codes at indoor venues, as well as a return to the basic rules such as social distancing and working from home.
‘We hear that people are standing in queues and the QR code checks in busy places leave a lot to be desired,’ he said. ‘Our message has always been: keep 1.5 metres apart wherever possible. There’s been a tendency to act as if we’re done with all the rules.
‘We’ve heard that an analysis has been done of how the unvaccinated population is spread out, particularly in the Randstad conurbation, and how we should organise measures for those people, but it’s a real challenge. That’s very difficult to do in the Netherlands because don’t know where all the unvaccinated people are.’
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