Monday 28 September 2020

Future corona lockdowns will be local rather than national, says safety board chief

Social distancing sign in Amsterdam. Photo:

Future outbreaks of coronavirus are more likely to contained by local lockdowns rather than the kind of blanket measures introduced in March, head of the regional safety councils association Hubert Bruls has said.

Only last week Bruls told Nieuwsuur that a local lockdown wouldn’t make much sense and that a regional lockdown ‘would not work’.

‘You can go elsewhere. You can really only tell people to self-isolate if there is an infection, in a company, a home, which you can close off. Imposing measures locally is difficult,’ public broadcaster NOS quoted him as saying. His claim was supported by national health institute RIVM and health minister Hugo de Jonge.

But on Tuesday Bruls appeared to change his tune as he emerged from the final scheduled meeting of regional safety boards on Tuesday evening, during which measures to limit new outbreaks were discussed.

Bruls said that ‘with the knowledge we have now, and we know much more than four months ago, we will not have to take measures that will affect the whole country.’ He also said outbreaks are easier to detect early now that more testing is being carried out.

Bruls emphasised the importance of contact tracing to locate infected people and said local measures must prevent the whole country to go into lockdown for months on end, which he called ‘a horror scenario’.

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