The Netherlands will continue to lock up to suppress corona virus

The Netherlands will continue to lock up to suppress corona virus
The Netherlands will continue to lock up to suppress corona virus

A security guard closes the gate of the Mauritshuis after the last visitors have left the museum.Image Freek van den Bergh / de Volkskrant

An even stricter lockdown, especially now that the number of new infections is falling for the first time in two months. It was a difficult story that Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Corona Minister Hugo de Jonge had to sell on Tuesday evening. And yet, if you take a closer look, you will see that ‘the figures are not as favorable as we would like’, De Jonge said at the press conference. “The peak is in sight, but we’re not there yet.”

Indeed, the number of infections is decreasing. But not loud enough. There is a big difference with the first wave, said Rutte and De Jonge, who made every effort to explain the new package of measures as well as possible. In that first wave, the number of infections shot up, but fell again quickly after the ‘intelligent lockdown’. In the second wave, the infection rate rose more slowly, but recovery is also taking much longer. Mainly because the Netherlands does not keep to the rules as well.

The consequences for healthcare are major. More people than in the first wave are in the intensive care of the hospitals, where it is ‘sink or swim’. In 600 care homes, more than a quarter of the total, the virus has ‘got a foot in the door’. Caregivers groan under the long working hours and emotional strain. And so there is ‘every reason for extra measures’, said Rutte.

In addition to the ‘partial lockdown’, which has already shut down the catering industry, among other things, the cabinet is therefore taking extra measures, which will take effect on Wednesday at 10 p.m. Measures aimed at reducing the number of movements and contacts as far as possible, without closing schools, hairdressers and retailers. The cabinet sees cinemas, theaters and museums as less necessary and must therefore close their doors. Other locations where more than thirty people fit will also be closed.

The further reduction of the maximum group size, both indoors and outdoors, also serves the same purpose. The heavier package has a term of two weeks, after which the previous partial lockdown automatically applies again. A daring deadline, as the effect of the measures will only become visible after those two weeks.

In any case, we will have to maintain this partial lockdown ‘until mid-December’. It is a hard message for entrepreneurs in the hospitality and events industry and sports, which the cabinet tried to convey as empathically as possible. “We really have to leave this second wave behind,” said Rutte. And the faster we do that, the better it is, also for these sectors. ‘

De Jonge offered some perspective to combat the feeling that the second wave will last forever. If the infection rate drops sufficiently, family and friends may be able to see each other at the Christmas table. “Christmas is a party that we celebrate together and that should also be the case this year,” said the CDA leader. Until then, the molars must match.

The new measures:

Close cinemas, theaters, museums, theme parks and zoos;

Other places where more than thirty people are welcome, such as swimming pools and saunas, must also be closed;

The maximum group size outside is from four to two persons, except for households and children up to and including 12 years old.

Inside, the urgent advice is to receive a maximum of two, and no longer three, guests at home per day;

Gyms will remain open, but group classes are prohibited;

A negative travel advice applies until mid-January for all destinations, except for the Caribbean islands within the Kingdom.

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