Tuesday 19 October 2021

Fewer positive coronavirus tests, but no relaxation of the rules in sight

Empty shops in Amsterdam’s Kalverstraat. Photo: DutchNews.nl

Public health institute RIVM registered 4,438 positive coronavirus tests in the 24 hours to Friday morning, below the average of the past seven days. The seven day average has been going down for the past week.

The number of people in hospital with coronavirus also continues to go down slightly, dropping to 2,231 on Friday, compared with 2,240 on Thursday. Of them, 659 are being treated in intensive care.

However, it is unlikely that ministers will announce any relaxation in the current lockdown next week, when a decision about ending the restrictions on February 9 is due to be taken.

Health minister Tamara van Ark told reporters on Friday she is ‘not optimistic’ about change because the pressure on the healthcare system is still too high.

Ministers will discuss the latest situation on Sunday, and government advisors will make their findings known to the cabinet on Tuesday morning, ahead of the planned press conference.

Reopening primary schools and childcare will be the first stage of a ‘route map’ out of the lockdown when coronavirus infection levels have fallen to a safer level, according to sources quoted in the Parool, earlier this week.

And the AD suggested on Friday that primary schools and daycare centres may be able to reopen in the second week of February.

Tracing

Meanwhile, regional health boards say that the IT system for tracing contacts and passing on coronavirus test results is undergoing a security upgrade and that is leading to delays.

‘Limiting access to the information is reducing the speed at which we can do our work,’ a spokesman told broadcaster NOS.

This week, RTL reported that call centre workers have access to private information about millions of people registered in the GGD system, and that some have been selling details to third parties.

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