Dutch government won’t relax coronavirus restrictions at Tuesday’s press conference
Sources in The Hague have revealed that the Dutch government doesn’t plan to announce any relaxations of the national coronavirus restrictions at the press conference on Tuesday evening due to the recent but significant rise in infection rates.
The Netherlands sees rise in daily coronavirus infections
At the press conference on March 8, Prime Minister Mark Rutte spoke of plans to hopefully announce further restrictions at the next press conference. Namely, Rutte hoped to reopen terraces, partially reopen universities, ease the measures for shops from March 31.
But since then, the Netherlands has seen a sharp rise in the number of COVID-19 infections reported every day. In the weekly report published on March 16, the National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM) said the coronavirus situation in the Netherlands was still worrying, and Sunday marked the third consecutive day where the number of cases reported surpassed 7.000.
Since the election success experienced by the D66 last week, party leader Sigrid Kaag and her fellow ministers have been pushing for certain measures to be lifted, namely the national curfew and the forced closure of universities. But other government ministers and members of the Outbreak Management Team (OMT) had remained cautious. Virologist and OMT member Marion Koopmans said on Saturday that “we really have to be patient and that we can hardly afford any relaxation.”
Dutch government won't relax any national restrictions
On Sunday, Rutte met with his cabinet ministers and OMT members at his official residence in The Hague to discuss the national restrictions, however, government sources have said those in attendance saw little opportunity for relaxations. Instead, the measures currently in place are likely to remain so all throughout April, but no additional measures are expected to be announced.
“If most people over 60 have been vaccinated, we can really do something again,” a government source is quoted as saying in Het Parool, "Then it is no longer so bad that you have seven thousand infections a day: it is mainly the elderly who end up in hospital."