Omicron is of major concern, says Dutch Minister of Health

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Health Minister Hugo de Jonge declined to comment on the likelihood of new coronavirus regulations being introduced to stem the spread of the Omicron variant, but he is very concerned.

Government health advisers from the Outbreak Management Team met on Friday to discuss the current situation and are working on possible new recommendations.

The notice will be sent to ministers this weekend, when a decision is made on further measures, De Jonge said.

“If it is necessary to curb the spread of the virus or to delay it … then we will make those decisions,” he said. “What we do know is that people who have suffered a jab or two are not sufficiently protected against the new variant.”

A quarter of the coronavirus cases in Amsterdam are now known to be Omicron.

The minister admitted that he is extremely busy at the regional health authority level, but said immunization capacity is increasing rapidly. ‘If you can’t [make an appointment], there will be new slots tomorrow and again the next day, ”he said.

The government hopes everyone will have had a vaccination booster by mid-January.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said earlier that he was not optimistic that free movement within the EU would remain an option during the holiday period. Italy, Portugal and Greece now require travelers to have a negative coronavirus test as well as a coronavirus pass to travel.

Travelers to the UK must also test negative both to enter the country and to return to the Netherlands.

Hospitalizations

The number of people hospitalized with coronavirus continues to decline. There are now 2,472 inpatients, of which 638 are in an IC department. Sixteen patients are also treated in an IC department in Germany.

A total of 15,433 new positive tests were reported to the RIVM public health institute in the 24 hours leading up to Friday morning. How accurate this figure is, however, is unknown, as not all people who test positive with a self-test have a follow-up test to make sure.

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