The Dutch Safety Board (OVV) has published its report ‘Approach to the COVID-19 crisis - Part 2: September 2020 to July 2021’. The report also includes a recommendation for RIVM.
RIVM believes that it is essential to reflect on and learn from the COVID-19 crisis. We will examine the Safety Board report and provide a response in about six weeks.
The recommendation addressed to RIVM concerns drawing up ‘rules of procedure’ for the Outbreak Management Team (OMT). This recommendation is in line with points for improvement that RIVM and the OMT chair have also acknowledged. RIVM is currently working on drawing up such rules of procedure. The resulting document will include agreements and principles that were already present, as well as more recent insights. This will assist RIVM in making further improvements in the partnership and the development of advisory opinions.
Unique and exceptional role for OMT
The OMT received a unique and exceptional role during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the 25 years before the COVID-19 pandemic, an OMT convened about once or twice a year. The advisory opinions issued by an OMT usually focused on regional outbreaks or had consequences for specific groups of people in Dutch society. In the context of COVID-19, the OMT convened nearly 100 times. The advisory opinions of the OMT were subjected to close scrutiny and played a significant role in the decisions made by the Cabinet – decisions that were noticeable to everyone in the Netherlands.