Saturday 04 December 2021

Fourth coronavirus wave is unlikely, says chief government advisor

Jaap van Dissel briefing MPs. Photo: Remko de Waal

While a fourth coronavirus wave is now unlikely, the Netherlands is not yet out of the woods when it comes to coping with the pandemic, government advisor Jaap van Dissel told the NRC in an interview.

Van Dissel, who chairs the government’s Outbreak Management Team, told the paper that the crisis is not yet over, even though vaccination is a ‘new, important phase’.

‘But a large group of people still have not been vaccinated, and that is where the infection risk is,’ he said.

Last summer the Netherlands also relaxed the control measures but this year the situation is different, Van Dissel said. Unlike last year, when the tough measures were responsible for the end of the first wave, a measure of immunity is now depressing infection rates, he said.

This, he said, makes it unlikely that there would be another surge in hospital cases ‘unless vaccine-driven immunity is very short, and that does not appear to be the case.’

‘If a majority of the population have been vaccinated in early July, as the cabinet aims, we will have reached a milestone,’ he said. ‘That removes much of the vulnerability and makes a fourth wave unlikely.’

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