1. We are very concerned in the Netherlands, why?
The British variant is the main reason that we are – most likely – in lockdown for a few more weeks. The cabinet is seriously concerned about this variant, which leads to enormous contamination numbers in the United Kingdom.
The government’s concern seems logical when you look at the figures from Great Britain, and also Ireland. In Ireland to explode the infection rates. They are now talking about an R-value of over 2. Each infected person would then ignite more than two others. Especially because of that more contagious variant.
If you relax the measures in our country, it could be that the infections will go very fast afterwards. Because that British variant is already present with us.
2. To what extent is the British variant present in our country?
This question cannot be answered precisely, but the cabinet has recently commissioned research to find out more about this. It is certain that people in the Netherlands are infected with the variant. For example, dozens of infections were reported at a school in Bergschenhoek (South Holland).
The Lansingerland municipality, which includes Bergschenhoek, has appealed to all residents (about 60,000) to have themselves tested for this new variant.
Below you can see the call from the mayor of Lansingerland:
3. How do you know if you are dealing with the British variant?
If you are infected with the corona virus, you will not realize that it is the British variant. The mutation does not make you extra sick. So specific testing has to be done to find out which variant it is.
And they do that testing on the different variants better in England than anywhere else. They use a very fine-meshed system to not only find out whether you have corona, but also which variant. So whether the British variant really comes from England is doubtful.
Sharon Peacock, a professor of microbiology at Cambridge, put it this way against CNN: “If you are going to find a variant somewhere, then it is here. But that does not mean that the variant comes from here.”
4. Are children more susceptible to this variant?
It is still unclear what the exact effect of the new variant of the corona virus on children is. Nevertheless, the effects on children are carefully considered, also due to the infections at the school in Bergschenhoek.
Due to the British virus variant, the Outbreak Management Team (OMT) recommends that children under the age of 12 are also tested if they have corona complaints. There are slight indications that would indicate that children are indeed more susceptible to this variant, although that is by no means certain, Károly Illy, a member of the OMT, previously told RTL Nieuws.
The GGD in Rotterdam is also conducting research in Charlois into complaints in children of this variant, according to the RIVM. Aura Timen, head of infectious disease control at RIVM: “The data is compared with primary schools where the British variant has not been found. At the moment it is still too early to say anything about the Dutch situation.”
5. Are the vaccines still effective?
Now that the rollout of the vaccines has just begun, one variant may not be what you want to hear. Soon after the outbreak of the mutation, it was said that the vaccines would probably just work, but research needed to be done.
Manufacturer Pfizer, the pharmaceutical company whose vaccine is already being administered in the Netherlands, did the research. As it turns out, the vaccine continues to work, according to the first results.
Pfizer’s lead study Philip Dormitzer told AP news agency, “It was a very reassuring finding that this mutation, which people were most concerned about, does not appear to be a problem.”
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