Dutch government and OMT discuss extending coronavirus curfew
At the press conference on February 2, Acting Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced that, while a number of lockdown restrictions were to be extended until March 2, a decision about the national curfew was yet to be made.
Now, concerns about the spread of the British B117 variant mean the caretaker government is preparing to extend the curfew. At the request of the cabinet, the Outbreak Management Team (OMT) is discussing the effect of the curfew - and the other restrictions - on Friday.
Support for curfew extension in Dutch parliament
On Tuesday, Rutte said he would “rather not” extend the curfew, but faced with the reality of coronavirus infections in the Netherlands, it looks as though the cabinet is preparing to do just that. And, while the initial introduction of the measure faced significant debate and criticism in the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer), there don’t appear to be any objections from MPs about the potential extension.
On the contrary, GroenLinks, D66, and the Labour Party (PvdA) all agree on the benefits of the curfew, while the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) both support the extension as long as the experts feel it is necessary.
Will coronavirus curfew be extended?
So, what will the experts advise? In their report published at the beginning of this week, the OMT wrote that the current epidemiological situation in the Netherlands was “still very worrisome.” Meanwhile, director of the National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM), Jaap van Dissel, and chairman of National Acute Care Network (LNAZ), Ernst Kuipers, have both expressed support for the proposed extension.
Should the OMT decide to advocate for an extension of the curfew, cabinet ministers and a number of experts, including Van Dissel, will meet on Sunday at Rutte’s official residence in The Hague (the Catshuis) to discuss the curfew. This will be followed by a parliamentary debate next week. The cabinet will have to come to a quick decision, as the curfew is currently set to lift at 4.30am on Wednesday.