Rotterdam to open pandemic research center

The municipality of Rotterdam and Erasmus MC are together opening the Pandemic Disaster Preparedness Center, a research center aimed at making sure the Netherlands is better prepared for future disasters. Mayor of Rotterdam Ahmed Aboutaleb and Ernst Kuipers of the national acute care network LNAZ revealed plans for the center on talk show Jinek on Thursday.

“The coronavirus pandemic showed how unprepared the Netherlands, and the world, was to deal with such a crisis. The Netherlands ended up dependent on other countries for supplies like personal protective equipment,” mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb said.

“In the future we must try to be as independent as possible. My wish is to set up this plan within three years. Not only nationally, but perhaps also internationally,” the mayor of Rotterdam said.

The research center was the idea of virology professor Marion Koopmans, who is currently in Wuhan to research the origin of the coronavirus with the World Health Organization. “I’m trying to find out what happened at the start of the pandemic. How did that go? That knowledge is especially important for the future,” Koopmans said.

According to Koopmans, there is a definite chance that there will be more pandemics in the future. “There are many more viruses in animals. We certainly have to take this seriously for the future. Not out of panic, but we have to see what needs to be ready.”

The goal for the research center is to make sure the Netherlands quickly knows what to do in the event of a disaster – not only for viruses and illnesses, but also for natural disasters, for example.