“We have opted for a strategy of maximum control, in which we try to contain every flare-up of the virus,” said the prime minister. This is done, among other things, by the one and a half meter rule, but also by, for example, investing in tests more than before.
The strategy question was the central point today during the corona debate in the House of Representatives. “The image of a drifting strategy looms, of a changing strategy,” said Lodewijk Asscher.
According to the PvdA leader, it is important to be clear. “Because if you do not make the choices well, or if you do not substantiate them, it could mean extra sick people, extra deaths and extra economic damage.”
Rutte stated the chosen path clearly. He looked back at his press conference on March 16. “I explained the choices in it,” said the prime minister. “We could choose to let the virus blow around. But nobody wants that.”
Another choice was a complete lockdown of the country. “But you always run the risk that the virus will start to win. That is why we do not choose that. That is why we choose the strategy of maximum control.”
According to the cabinet, ‘maximum control’ means that the virus will continue to circulate among the population, but that new, larger outbreaks will be contained when they emerge. The aim is to protect the vulnerable and ensure that care can handle it.
Many more questions
According to SP leader Lilian Marijnissen, a strategy that really focuses on maximum control should invest much more in the source and contact research. Only then can you ‘kick out the fires’ in time where the virus will start to take over again.
Marijnissen: “The experts point out that this helps to contain the virus. It could be even more vigorous. Look at how they do the source and contact research in Germany, for example. Why don’t we do that?”
What does that mean?
When does the cabinet think the virus is under control, GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver wanted to know. “Are we talking about dozens of infections? About hundreds of infections or tens of thousands of infections? That we can still say: we have it under control.”
But Rutte did not want to answer that question. According to the Prime Minister, the answer to that question is “complex”, depending on “all kinds of factors we have to weigh.” “You can’t express that in one number.”
One and a half meters is sacred
In the chosen strategy, the one and a half meter rule is sacred. Both inside and outside, the prime minister emphasized after questions from Geert Wilders. The PVV leader believes that the distance rule should be released outside.
“Studies show that outside contamination is many times smaller. So the one and a half meter rule goes way too far. Let it go outside, you’re a liberal, Mr. Rutte.”
But the prime minister did not want to hear about that. “As long as the expert advice is a meter and a half away, we will do that.” Rutte also emphasized that almost all countries have this distance rule. “We rely on the compass of experts and then we make a political weighting.”