Netherlands lockdown looming if people ignore Covid rules: Security boss
With coronavirus infections continuing to rise fast, and hospitalizations for Covid-19 growing at an exponential rate, lockdown measures will be needed to get the health problem under control if people do not do a better job of maintaining a safe distance from each other, said Nijmegen Mayor Hubert Bruls. In addition to his role as mayor, Bruls serves as the chair of the Gelderland-Zuid Security Region, one of eight regions added to the list of those at a "worrying" level with regard to the coronavirus crisis.
Bruls is also the chair of the Security Council, which is made up of the heads of all 25 security regions in the Netherlands. He said he hopes that the public will be startled by the 12,140 new coronavirus infections uncovered since Monday, a 53 percent increase over last week. “As a result of which people will again comply much better with the guidelines and rules," he said during a press conference on Friday.
“To avoid having to close everything again. If we are not going to change our behavior very quickly, I predict that there will be a lockdown. That's where we're headed.''
The number of infections skyrocketed this week, with Ernst Kuipers of the National Network of Acute Care warning on Thursday that the country is back in the same position it was when the lockdown was implemented in March. "Fasten your seat belts. We are in exactly the same situation as in March, or actually a step further," he said on talk show Jinek.
Bruls said he would also consider making supermarkets start cleaning trolleys again, mandatory plastic face shields for bartenders and wait staff in the catering industry, and making it mandatory for more people to register to enter offices and commercial buildings.
The national government moved another eight security regions to the "worrisome" Level 2 on its three-stage coronavirus warning system. Stricter measures aimed at curbing the spread of the virus will also apply in these regions from Sunday evening, including earlier closing times for catering establishments and a 50 person limit on gatherings.
The eight regions moved to Level 2 this week are Brabant-Noord, Brabant-Zuidoost, Gelderland-Zuid, Groningen, Zuid-Holland-Zuid, Gooi en Vechtstreek, Zaanstreek-Waterland and Flevoland. Six others were already moved to Level 2 last week. Fourteen of the Netherlands 25 security regions are now at a "worrisome" level when it comes to coronavirus infections.
A number of experts raised doubts about whether regional measures will be enough to break a second wave of infections. National measures are needed, they said. The mayors of Amsterdam and Rotterdam are also hoping for national measures.
The regions still on Level 1 are spread over the country - the provinces of Zeeland, Drenthe, Friesland and Overijssel, and parts of Gelderland, Noord-Holland and Noord-Brabant.