The corona figures in the Netherlands have increased again in the past week. Where less than 5,000 positive tests were registered on Tuesday, the RIVM reported more than 7,000 this weekend. That is about 250 infections per 100,000 inhabitants. Reason for the cabinet not to relax the restrictive measures for the time being, according to sources from The Hague.
The countries close to us are also dealing with an increasing number of corona infections. This is how they tackle the increase.
Germany: no relaxation yet
Lately it has often been said: if Germany takes a step, the Netherlands will follow in step. Policymakers have often looked at our eastern neighbors in recent months, and relaxed or tightened up when the German government did the same.
The Robert Koch Institute, which keeps track of the figures in Germany, reported an increase in the average number of cases last week compared to a week earlier. The weekly average there is 109 infections per 100,000 inhabitants.
Chancellor Merkel has already said it is too early to relax the measures. The lockdown will therefore probably be extended until a date to be determined in April. Later today decisions will be made about this.
But Merkel notices that the federal states are increasingly arguing. Support for the lockdown is decreasing, says correspondent Judith van de Hulsbeek. In addition, vaccination is slow in Germany. “You see that there is a lot of pressure from the states on Merkel’s government to make things possible by using rapid tests. But because the government does not arrange this quickly, there is a lot of criticism.”
“The federal states say: go and see what is possible with the rising figures, instead of sticking to the lockdown. But Merkel really wants to pull the emergency brake.”
Belgium: announced relaxation postponed
The figures in our other neighboring country are also not going in the right direction. In Belgium there are already more freedoms than in the Netherlands. For example, ten people are allowed to congregate outside and most shops are open again.
But unrest is also starting to strike among the southern neighbors. The Belgian graphs show a steady increase again. Last week there were an average of more than 200 infections per 100,000 inhabitants.
That is why the proposed relaxation has been put on hold for an indefinite period. There is no question of reopening theme parks and allowing more people to come together outdoors. Reopening of terraces is at the earliest on May 1.
But for some in Belgium it does not go far enough, says correspondent Sander van Hoorn. “They argue for a short, but complete lockdown. Others again point to working from home, which is mandatory, but which seems increasingly less the norm. Keeping the schools open, in which Belgium has so far succeeded, is also under pressure. “
Today the education ministers have to come up with a plan to stem the increasing number of infections in schools. It was previously decided that face masks are also compulsory from Monday in groups 7 and 9 of primary school. They were already compulsory in the classroom in high school.
France: area-oriented approach
The French government was resolute last week and took new measures: the 12 million inhabitants of Paris and the surrounding area will face a limited lockdown over the next four weeks.
In France, an average of 255 infections per 100,000 inhabitants last week. “We are heading for 100,000 dead,” said Prime Minister Castex Thursday evening. And on top of that, there are now 4,406 corona patients in the IC’s, the highest figure since the end of November.
The new measures will apply for four weeks in 16 departments, where a total of more than 20 million French people live: one third of the population. That is where the problems are greatest. “This mainly concerns the northwestern corner of France, roughly from Paris to the Belgian border,” says correspondent Frank Renout. “In other parts of the country, the situation is less serious. Because of those differences, President Macron’s government has taken an area-based approach.”
Renout expects that this new lockdown could be extended to other departments where the situation is worsening.
Macron, who called the situation in Paris “critical”, wants to avoid a third nationwide lockdown because of the social and economic damage. There is also increasing disagreement about policy in France. Paris Mayor Hidalgo called a lockdown rather “inhumane”.
United Kingdom: concerns not yet gone
How different the situation is in the United Kingdom. Where in the other neighboring countries a few percent of the population has been vaccinated, more than half of British adults have already had an injection. And yesterday a new record was even set: more than 800,000 vaccinations in one day.
“That is really a huge amount,” says correspondent Tim de Wit. “At the same time you see the infections also go down enormously. In the Netherlands there are more infections than in the United Kingdom, while there are many more people living here.” In the UK, there were an average of 56 infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the past week.
Hospital admissions are also doing well in the UK. “There is a huge decline and you have to remember that they come from far. In January it was alarm phase 1 here, when the British variant hit and hospitals were heading towards the critical point. That has now completely changed.”
But there is by no means a hosanna mood among the British. “For example, they are alarmed here about what is happening in the rest of Europe. And at the same time there is also concern about their own situation. Suppose other corona mutations arise and come to Great Britain, does the vaccine still protect? so not yet gone, and neither did the worries. “