Infection numbers might be decreasing, and vaccinations have begun.
But the new COVID-19 variants seem to be gaining a foothold in the Netherlands. “They seem to attach more easily to our cells, then penetrate them,” explains microbiologist, Dr Jean-Luc Murk. “With the possibility of releasing more particles, a hundred times more of this virus ends up in your nose and throat.”
This makes these variants about 1.5 times more contagious. “I think we’re seeing the tip of the iceberg. More people are infected with the variants than we know.”
‘Can limit the spread’
As with the primary virus, Murk expects contamination figures to quickly rise with the British and South African variants too. “In theory, the spread can be limited. But we’d have to be very strict.”
“With restrictions, we can slow down the spread. And vaccinations can protect the vulnerable. That should prevent deaths and hospital admissions.”
This week’s press conference is expected to confirm about setting a curfew. Murk seems to favour it. “I’m open to all options. We must avoid meeting friends too much. If curfew is one of those scenarios, then I wholeheartedly support it.”
Editor: Melinda Walraven