Dutch government to warn ‘draconian measures’ may be on the way
With police breaking up illegal parties across the country and the number of coronavirus infections approaching 300.000, Prime Minister Mark Rutte met with experts and members of the Dutch government to discuss potential future national coronavirus measures.
Cabinet meeting to discuss coronavirus measures
At the press conference on October 13, Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge announced a list of stricter national coronavirus measures, placing the Netherlands under a so-called semi-lockdown. They stated that these measures would be in place for (at least) four weeks, and that the government’s approach would be reviewed after two weeks.
As this week marks two weeks since the Netherlands entered semi-lockdown, cabinet ministers, government advisors, and members of the National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM) met at Rutte’s official residence to assess the effectiveness of the current measures, and discuss what the government’s next steps should be.
Mark Rutte to warn draconian measures could be on the way
Sources in The Hague are saying that, while a press conference is expected this week, it is unlikely that Rutte and De Jonge will announce new coronavirus measures. Experts say more time is needed to determine whether the semi-lockdown currently in place has had the desired effect, and so the cabinet is waiting to see what will happen over the coming days before making a final decision on future measures.
However, it is expected that Rutte and De Jonge will remind people in the Netherlands to stick to the measures that are currently in place, and warn that, if the country is unable to get the coronavirus under control, "draconian measures" - for example a complete lockdown or national curfew - could be on the way.
Number of infections continue to rise
Over the weekend the Dutch police were forced to shut down a number of illegal ‘coronavirus parties’. In Amsterdam, a party in Duivendrecht on Saturday evening resulted in 20 fines being handed out.
In Hilversum, the local police broke up a party on a construction site at which around 300 people were present. Two people were arrested. One of the partygoers told NOS that similar parties were arranged every week, and had been taking place throughout the summer.
The number of coronavirus infections continues to rise, and the Netherlands is expected to reach its 300.000th infection on either Monday or Tuesday. Diederik Gommers, chairman of the Dutch Association for Intensive Care (NVIC), has said infections are rising much faster than anticipated, and the Minister for Medical Care and Sports, Tamara van Ark, has already introduced a number of measures to limit the stress placed on the Dutch healthcare system.
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