More restrictions to come? Government requests urgent advice from OMT
Less than three weeks since the last of the national lockdown restrictions were lifted, the Dutch government appears to be considering reintroducing some measures as the cabinet has put in a request for urgent advice from the Outbreak Management Team (OMT) in order to combat the rising number of coronavirus infections in the Netherlands.
Is the Dutch government considering new coronavirus measures?
In this week’s weekly report, the National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM) revealed that the number of positive coronavirus tests had more than doubled compared to the week before, with the greatest increase among young people aged between 18 and 24 years old. On July 7, almost 3.700 positive tests were reported, whereas only a week ago the RIVM was reporting between 600 and 800 new cases per day.
“It’s going up really fast,” said Health Minister Hugo de Jonge, who has explained that he knew the relaxations at the end of June would lead to an increase in infections, but is concerned about how fast cases continue to rise.
The cabinet has therefore asked the OMT for advice, questioning whether new measures might be necessary in order to curb the number of coronavirus cases. De Jonge has said he isn’t keen to reintroduce measures, but that he would take the necessary steps in order to protect the Dutch healthcare system. The OMT’s advice is expected to be released on Friday afternoon.
Effect of rising numbers on travel advice for the Netherlands
The rising number of infections in the Netherlands could have serious implications for international travel advice. Less than two weeks after the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) changed the travel advice for the Netherlands from red to orange, the country could once again be headed into dangerous territory; if infections continue to rise at the current rate, the Netherlands will be red by Sunday.
The House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer) is particularly concerned that people may once again be forced to change or cancel travel plans, and has placed pressure on De Jonge to ensure that this doesn’t happen. “Are we prepared to take new lockdown-like measures, for example closing the catering industry, just to avoid going red for other countries?" the Health Minister asked MPs on Wednesday.
Some establishments have taken matters into their own hands, with a handful of nightclubs announcing on Wednesday that they would close their doors as a result of the rising number of infections. Rob de Jong, who owns Club Nyx and Exit in Amsterdam told Het Parool that the risk of staying open wasn’t worth it.