Coronavirus infections remain high, Dutch mayors to discuss restrictions
After Friday saw Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge reintroduce a handful of coronavirus restrictions for the Netherlands, Saturday saw the National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM) report the highest number of daily cases since Christmas. The Security Council is due to meet on Monday to discuss the new restrictions and the coronavirus situation in the Netherlands.
Mayors to discuss enforcement of new coronavirus measures
As the number of daily infections rose steadily throughout last week, the Dutch government opted to reintroduce a number of restrictions just two weeks after the national lockdown was officially lifted. Within the space of one week, the number of daily infections had risen from 1.127 on July 3, to 10.306 on July 10 - the highest number reported since December 2020.
The 25 mayors that made up the Dutch Security Council are due to meet on Monday to discuss the reality of enforcing the new restrictions and the severity of the situation across the country. Justice Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus will also be present.
Council chairman and mayor of Nijmegen, Hubert Bruls, believes it will be difficult for mayors and municipalities to enforce the new restrictions, as the public has already gotten used to the freedom of living without a lockdown. “The genie is out of the bottle and it will be difficult to get it back,” Bruls explains.
Situation in the Netherlands changing from worrisome to very serious
In the Netherlands, there are four risk levels - vigilant, worrisome, serious, and very serious - to determine the severity of the outbreak in each region. Three key pieces of data are used to determine a region’s risk level: the population size, the number of positive tests, and the number of hospital admissions.
Up until the end of May, all 25 regions were considered very serious, but now, 10 regions are classified as vigilant, with the remaining 15 rated as worrisome. After Monday's meeting, it is widely expected that a number of regions will once again be classified as very serious on Tuesday.
The cities of Amsterdam, Groningen, and Utrecht have all seen significant rises in the number of infections, with Utrecht setting a national record on Saturday for the number of new infections recorded in one day in one region (1.541). Rotterdam and The Hague aren’t too far behind, and will likely be classified as either serious or very serious.
ECDC likely to change travel advice from orange to red
As the situation is assessed nationally, it is also important to note that the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) will also adjust its travel advice for member states on Thursday. As was pointed out last week by a number of MPs, after only a few weeks of being orange, most of the country will go back to red.
The provinces of North-Holland, South-Holland, Utrecht, and Groningen are expected to turn red from Thursday. The colour change could have repercussions for anyone planning a holiday abroad this summer, as it could result in member states tightening their travel advice and entry requirements for the Netherlands.