Concerns in the cabinet about the omicron variant, OMT will come with new suggestions on Friday

“Current action packages are aimed at delta and model variants and not at infectious omicron variants,” said political reporter Fons Lambie. “You’re now seeing significant peaks because of the omicron in countries like the UK and Denmark. And that makes people in The Hague very nervous.”

Insiders point out that it is difficult to make comparisons with those countries, as there is currently far less action in both countries than in the Netherlands. This also makes it very difficult for RIVM to model the exact consequences of current omicrons. Even so, his worries were great.

Possible additional actions

The Cabinet has asked the new OMT for advice on omicrons. “That additional advice will come Friday,” Lambie said. “And then additional steps may follow. But that’s not for sure. I even spoke to someone who can’t rule out new tightening, new lockdowns next week. But what exactly will happen depends on the new OMT suggestions, but the concerns about omicron are huge. .”

Today, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) announced that more than a hundred people in the Netherlands have currently tested positive for the omicron variant. The agency warned that the new version of the virus would cause more infections in the coming weeks, and as a result the number of hospitalized patients could rise again.

encouragement

Tonight, outgoing minister De Jonge will come up with a plan to further accelerate the number of booster shots. But not everyone is happy with De Jonge’s approach, says Lambie.

“People there are wondering: is this going well? Shouldn’t the Netherlands have to step up faster to prevent a new lockdown? Shouldn’t you be doing everything you can to vaccinate everyone with booster shots, for example the army or all general practitioners, as is now happening in the UK? Minister De Jonge has announced an accelerated increase. But in the cabinet, and in other ministries, there are doubts whether this will work and we are not too late again.”

‘Power play’ between Rutte and Slob about school closure

The lead-up to the Christmas holidays for elementary schools has caused heated discussions within the cabinet. “The OMT has suggested three times: do it now. The Cabinet has refused twice. The third time has agreed, mainly for fear of the omicron variant,” said Lambie.

It was not without struggle. “There was a very strong discussion in the cabinet this afternoon. It was very intense between Prime Minister Rutte and Education Minister Slob. Slob was against the shutdown, and we hear it was getting stronger. There is even talk of power play. Discussions continue between the importance of fighting the virus versus the importance of education. for the children. The conclusion is that the Ministry of Education has gone through the pump, and therefore the schools are closed.”

Astrid Marshman

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