Jaap van Dissel to step down as infectious diseases chief

Jaap van Dissel briefing MPs. Photo: Robin van Lonkhuijzen ANP
Jaap van Dissel briefing MPs. Photo: Robin van Lonkhuijzen ANP

Public health institute chief Jaap van Dissel, who became one of the most public faces of the coronavirus pandemic, is retiring, the RIVM has confirmed.

Van Dissel, 65, will reach pension age next year. The agency is hoping to appoint his successor in the fourth quarter of 2023, according to the text of the advert published by the health ministry to find his replacement.

Van Dissel heads the RIVM’s centre for combating infectious diseases, which has a workforce of some 600.  He has held the position since 2013.

In 2020 he emerged from obscurity as the RIVM’s main face at press conferences and in television debates on coronavirus, and gave briefings to MPs.

He was also on the receiving end of threats from coronavirus sceptics and conspiracy theorists, one of whom is currently facing four years in jail.

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