Are more national coronavirus measures on the way?
At a five-hour cabinet meeting on Sunday, Prime Minister Mark Rutte and cabinet ministers discussed rising coronavirus infections and potential national measures, which the Prime Minister is expected to announce at a press conference on Tuesday.
Rising coronavirus infections in the Netherlands
On Sunday morning, the National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM) announced that 6.378 people across the Netherlands had tested positive for coronavirus. In yesterday’s daily update from the National Coordination Centre for Patient Distribution (LCPS), they revealed that there were currently 1233 coronavirus patients being treated in hospital, 247 of which are in intensive care.
It was also announced on Sunday that some hospitals in the western regions of the Netherlands, including Leiden University Medical Centre and Haaglanden MC (The Hague), have had to cut regular healthcare by 40 percent to ensure there is enough space for coronavirus patients.
On Friday, Diederik Gommers, chairman of the Dutch Association for Intensive Care, said the Dutch government’s current measures were not working, and that a national lockdown was the only solution for the rising number of cases: “I am very much in favour of entering a lockdown as soon as possible. Not an intelligent lockdown or anything like that, but a full one. Otherwise, nothing will change.”
Rutte to announce national measures
Rutte met with his cabinet ministers at his official residence on Sunday, where they discussed potential measures that could be taken to limit the ongoing spread of the virus. RIVM director Jaap van Dissel and several members of the Outbreak Management Team (OMT) were also present.
On Monday, the experts on the OMT are expected to issue their own advice for measures, and mayors from the 25 security regions in the Netherlands will meet with the Minister of Justice, Ferd Grapperhaus.
While it is not yet clear what these measures will be, sources in The Hague have said the cabinet will do everything they can to avoid a national lockdown, according to NOS. Political reporter Ron Frensen says any measures announced will aim to limit peoples movements and contact with others.