Covid measures update next week at earliest, Dutch PM says
The Dutch government will decide whether stricter measures are needed against the coronavirus next week at the earliest, Prime Minister Mark Rutte told NOS. Health Minister Hugo de Jonge told the broadcaster that these decisions will likely be made Tuesday.
According to Rutte, it is now too early to say whether more measures are needed. By the weekend it should be clear whether the measures implemented last week Monday had the desired effect. The Prime Minister is worried by the increasing number of infections, he said, but "what you see now are the aftereffects, because there is always a delay in the response to the spread of the virus."
A survey by NOS showed that two thirds of the Dutch population want the government to take stricter measures. A survey for RTL Nieuws showed 71 percent want face masks to be mandatory in publicly accessible indoor spaces.
Rutte told NOS that he understands the concerns in society. "I would say to those two thirds: if necessary, we will do it. But it still too early now."
If extra measures turn out to be necessary, they will be the "difficult things", he said. "Then it concerns things like: can you still keep the catering industry open, and the theaters and sports? Those are terribly difficult decisions, but at the moment we're not that far yet."
Regarding the wish to make masks mandatory, Rutte said: "We took the plunge last week on an urgent advice. Why do you need an obligation again? What a childish country are we then. If we have to, we will look at that again, but I would be sorry if that is needed."