Covid-19 measures likely to go unchanged beyond Apr. 28: Ministers
The Cabinet is not planning on major changes which would loosen up the existing rules in place to curb the spread of Covid-19 before Apr. 28, two ministers suggested on Monday. This comes amid growing speculation around how the Netherlands will emerge from its "intelligent lockdown" ahead of a planned Tuesday press conference with Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
"Let's not be under the illusion that we can take big steps," warned Minister of Health Hugo De Jonge to the broadcaster NOS on Monday after a meeting with Rutte.
The point was similarly reiterated by De Jonge's colleague on the Cabinet, Ferdinand Grapperhaus. The Minister of Justice and Security suggested that existing measures are unlikely to be adapted this week.
"We may be able to create some space within the existing measures," Grapperhaus explained.
The government's Outbreak Management Team (OMT) is scheduled to convene on Monday evening in order to finalize the government's position on the subject. The decision on whether or not to loosen measures, as well as other decisions relating to schools and how to contact medical personnel, will be announced to the public on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
It was already made clear late last week that the Schengen Area entry ban would be extended through May 15. The exemptions for this remain the same, including EU residents, those with non-temporary residency permits, and workers in certain essential roles.
Grapperhaus also spoke directly to young people in the Netherlands, who have been particularly defiant of the social distancing guidelines in place. "I care about the fate of young people whose freedom of movement is severely curtailed," the minister said, pointing out that he recognizes well their need to "develop" and have the ability to "do things in life".
He went on to add that he is also trying to work out how adjustments might be made to the social distancing rules "from the local [level]". To this effect, according to NOS, the minister is working closely with experts and with Amsterdam's mayor Femka Halsema to "relieve the pressure," possibly with new digital solutions.