Lockdown not yet in the cards as gov't prepares new Covid measures
On Sunday, the government discussed the coronavirus crisis and possible measures against its spread with its most important advisors. Stricter measures are expected, but a complete lockdown is not yet in the cards, sources told NOS, RTL Nieuws and ANP. The expectation is that new measures will be announced on Tuesday.
The government hoped that measures implemented on September 28 - limits on social gatherings, early closing times for catering establishments, and later the urgent advice for people to wear masks - would have lowered the number of Covid-19 infections by this past weekend. Public health institute RIVM reported 6,378 positive coronavirus tests on Sunday, slightly lower than the 6,504 infections reported the day before.
But the numbers are still dangerously high, insiders said to ANP. Which means that travel movements and contacts between people need to be further restricted. Mandatory face masks were also discussed, but no decision was made on this front yet, sources said to NOS.
"The cabinet wants to stay away from a lockdown as long as possible," one source said to NOS. The biggest concern is that Netherlands residents will only adjust their behavior when hospitals are overflowing with too many Covid-19 patients, and regular care needs to be halted again.
On Saturday, during the launch of the coronavirus app, Minister Hugo de Jonge of Public Health called stricter measures inevitable if the number of infections continue to rise. He said that definite answers on whether new measures will be introduced will be provided on Tuesday.
Last week the Netherlands reported one of the largest numbers of positive tests, relative to inhabitants, in Europe. 161 per 100 thousand Netherlands residents had the coronavirus last week. With that, the Netherlands had more positive tests than hot spots Brazil and the United States, both of which had around 130 positive tests per 100 thousand inhabitants, according to NU.nl.