Dutch government postpones relaxation of coronavirus restrictions
According to the five-step plan outlined at the press conference on April 13, Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge should’ve hosted a press conference on Monday evening, announcing certain coronavirus measures would be relaxed from May 11. However, the Dutch government has decided to postpone relaxation for the time being.
Gyms, cinemas, and theme parks to stay closed until May 18
The five-step plan stated that, should the number of coronavirus infections and hospitalisations fall, May 11 should see gyms, zoos, cinemas, and theme parks reopen, with more freedoms granted for outdoor sports and the arts / culture sector.
However, in a statement released on Saturday, the cabinet announced that while “the [coronavirus] figures are over the peak...the decrease is not yet sufficiently visible to be able to carry out the next step of the opening plan responsibly.” According to the cabinet, the pressure on Dutch hospitals and intensive care units remains too high. This means restrictions will likely remain in place until (at least) May 18.
Number of coronavirus patients in hospitals remains high
According to the National Coordination Centre for Patient Distribution (LCPS), on May 2 there were 2.600 coronavirus patients in hospitals across the Netherlands, 804 of which were being treated in intensive care.
Health experts and members of the Outbreak Management Team (OMT) were already critical of the government’s decision to lift a handful of restrictions on April 28, calling it a politically motivated move. The latest update from the cabinet means that no press conference will be taking place on Monday evening. Instead, Rutte and De Jonge will likely address the public next week.