No new coronavirus measures expected tomorrow: Reports
No new social restrictions were expected to be announced by Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge at a press briefing scheduled for Tuesday. They are instead expected to preemptively address critics who believe the current partial lockdown policy is too weak to slow the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, and too damaging to certain business sectors.
Rutte and De Jonge will provide a brief update about the situation, without introducing new measures, and without loosening or tightening existing rules, anonymous sources told NOS, RTL Nieuws and Nu.nl. They were far more likely to say they need one more full week to determine if the partial lockdown in place since October 14 has had any impact, and to issue a starting warning that a further increase in infections will bring about a stricter lockdown.
The number of coronavirus infections in the Netherlands continued to rise last week, with public health institute RIVM reporting 63,131 new coronavirus infections last week, 17.5 percent more the previous week. Monday was the 21st time a single-day record has been set in the four weeks since the government announced its first package of measures meant to tackle the second wave of infections.
However on Wednesday as the RIVM revealed 10,353 new infections of the novel coronavirus, hospitals were treating 2,249 Covid-19 patients, an increase of 104. Acute care expert Ernst Kuipers said he expected 2,500 patients by the end of this week, a figure which will rise even higher. "If that continues, you need additional measures," he said.
Cabinet ministers will again convene for a coronavirus response meeting on Tuesday morning. Parliament will be briefed by public health agency RIVM on Wednesday, with a debate in the lower House of Parliament planned Wednesday afternoon and evening.
On Sunday, Ministers and RIVM representatives met at Prime Minister Mark Rutte's official residence in The Hague to discuss the state of affairs around the pandemic. Sources told various Dutch media that the government decided it was too soon to implement new measures, as the effects of the partial lockdown implemented on October 14 weren't visible yet. Instead the government was going to make sure the public understands that a complete lockdown with "draconian measures" would follow if infection figures don't fall this week.
The coronavirus road map the government released earlier this month shows that measures that may be implemented in a complete lockdown include closing schools, closing public spaces that attract visitors like museums and amusement parks, further limiting social gatherings, and limiting the use of public transport to essential trips only.