Temporary lock down a possibility, not yet necessary, Dutch PM says about Covid-19

Prime Minister Mark Rutte is keeping the possibility open to temporarily halt public life in the Netherlands completely in the fight against the coronavirus. But, as the country's care capacity is still sufficient, such a lock down is not yet necessary, he said to NOS in response to criticism on the Dutch policy to strive for "herd immunity" against Covid-19.

Some critics say that the "herd immunity" approach is risky and could lead to many deaths, according to NOS. Other critics point out that other countries like France opted for a lock down approach. Belgium also took a step towards lock down on Tuesday evening.

But according to Rutte, there is not much of a difference between the Netherlands' approach and that of other countries. "We don't have a different strategy. This is the strategy that the whole world is following," he said. According to Rutte, the capacity of ICUs is the decisive factor in all countries' decision making. France and Belgium are locking down their countries because their ICUs are filled up. "That is also conceivable here, but we don't have to do that now," he said to the broadcaster.

Rutte added that a complete lockdown until a vaccine is available, is off the cards. "I don't think we're going to say to people: you can't go outside and that could take a year or maybe longer. Because it can take that long before there is a corona vaccine," he said.

The Prime Minister also commented on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' advise to cancel all unnecessary trips abroad, even if the destination is in the EU. "I say to people with travel plans: don't do it, stay here. Chances are that you will get stuck and cannot come back. We already have our hands full with bringing back Dutch people."