AMSTERDAM, WILLEMSTAD – Last weekend a total of twenty Dutch doctors and nurses traveled to Curaçao to help the hospitals with corona care. They will also support the Health Department (GGD) to increase the vaccination rate, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport reports.
To quickly expand those vaccinations, about 30,000 doses were flown in from the Netherlands on Friday. Dutch Undersecretary Blokhuis says it is quite something “to take the plunge so quickly to pause your life in the Netherlands and help people on Curaçao in difficult circumstances”.
In addition to nurses, doctors and vaccines, the Netherlands also sends medical equipment, including respirators. “It feels to me like an act of charity that so many nurses and doctors are doing that during these Easter days. I wish everyone a lot of strength with the intensive work ahead of them,” said Blokhuis.
One of the doctors who traveled to Curaçao is Stijn Kluft. He says he wants to contribute because of the crisis situation on the island. “They can use all the help there,” he says before departure at Schiphol. He goes to work at the GGD. “But I have a flexible contract, so I can also work in the hospital. It’s just where they need me.”
The number of infections on the island is increasing rapidly: On Sunday, 255 people were tested positive, the day before it was 465. In the only hospital that treats corona patients, the intensive care unit is full. In total there are 117 people in the hospital, of whom just over 45 in the ICU. Converted to the size of the Netherlands, this is an enormous number: in the Netherlands it would be 3,300 IC patients.
Kluft is not really afraid of going to a place with a lot of infections. “I am vaccinated, and I do not belong to a risk group, but it is alarming.”