The government’s coronavirus Outbreak Management Team is recommending that the quarantine rules for schools be further relaxed so that entire classes no longer need to be sent home.
The OMT says children under the age of 13 who have been in close contact with someone who has coronavirus no longer need to go into quarantine if they don’t have any symptoms. In addition, the current rule that a class be sent home if there are three or more infections can be dropped.
The same would apply to secondary school pupils without symptoms and a daily self test will allow them to continue to attend lessons, the OMT said.
Schools and the regional health boards would still be able to impose tougher quarantine rules if there is a major outbreak.
New health minister Ernst Kuipers has sent the OMT’s recommendations to parliament ahead of Tuesday night’s press conference, during which he and prime minister Mark Rutte, will outline what changes they plan to make.
Earlier leaks suggest that cafes, restaurants, theatres and cinemas will be able to reopen with a 10pm closing time, although the OMT recommends 8pm.
The OMT points out that research abroad indicates the Omicron variant of coronavirus is leading to a 40% to 60% reduced chance of hospitalisation. Fewer people are also ending up in IC and hospital stays are shorter.
In addition, the OMT says, 90% of the over-60s in the Netherlands who qualify for a booster jab have had one, as have 73% of the over 18s. A booster dose reduces the likelihood of being admitted to hospital by 97%.
However, relaxing the rules still further will lead to an increase in infections among school pupils and students, which could lead to more children being hospitalized and suffering Long Covid, the OMT said.
There is also a risk of increased transmission to adults.
However, the OMT said it is making the quarantine recommendation on the the basis of ‘both this and the weighty argument about the importance of ensuring the continuity of education.’
You can follow the press conference via the DutchNews.nl Twitter feed @DutchNewsNL from 7pm.
Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.
We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.Make a donation