Thursday 13 May 2021

No further relaxation of the coronavirus rules, more under-50s in hospital

Pavement cafes can reopen for six hours a day. Photo: DutchNews.nl

The cabinet has no plans to bring in any further relaxation of the coronavirus rules in the near future and Sunday’s cabinet meeting has been postponed by a week.

Ministers have issued a statement saying that while it looks as if the coronavirus infection rates and hospital admissions are passed the peak ‘the decline is not sufficiently visible to take the next step’.

In particular the pressure on intensive care hospital wards, and on the hospital system itself is too high, the ministers said in a short statement. Some 2,700 people are currently being treated in hospital, of whom around 800 are in an IC ward.

Monday’s scheduled press conference will also not go ahead.

The decision means museums, zoos and gyms cannot reopen on May 11 has had been hoped.

That was the next step in the government’s five point plan to reopen society and get back to normal.

Last Wednesday pavement cafes were allowed to open for a limited number of hours a day, and the curfew was scrapped. Both measures went against the advice of the government’s Outbreak Management Team, which said that the decline in the infection rate was not yet concrete enough.

Under-50s

Meanwhile, doctors have told Trouw that ‘many more’ people under the age of 50 are being treated in hospital for coronavirus, both in regular and intensive care wards.

The average age of patients is declining, partly due to the vaccination programme. But at the same time, there has been a ‘sharp rise’ in the number of younger adults who are seriously ill. This may be down to the rise of the more infectious variant of the disease first identified in Britain, the paper said.

Seriously ill

From the beginning of March to April 29, 294 people aged 30 to 50 were being treated in IC wards, compared with 263 at the height of the pandemic last year.

Robin Peters, a professor at Erasmus university’s teaching hospital, told Trouw that doctors all over the country report seeing more younger patients.

‘There is an increasing amount of evidence that more young people are ending up in hospital due to coronavirus,’ he said. ‘Some 75% of these patients aged 30 to 50 don’t have any underlying complaints. They are healthy young people who are now seriously ill in hospital.’

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