Stricter Covid measures in the works: Museums closing, group sizes limited further
The government is planning to implement stricter coronavirus measures this week, sources in The Hague told broadcaster NOS. Cinemas, museums and theaters may close for two weeks from Thursday, and the maximum number of people allowed to gather on the street will be lowered from four to two, according to the broadcaster. A press conference is expected on Tuesday.
A total of nine Ministers met at the Catshuis, Prime Minister Mark Rutte's official residence in The Hague, on Sunday to discuss the current approach to the pandemic and the possible effect of the current partial lockdown on infection figures. The weekend saw the first lowering of new coronavirus infections, with 8,740 positive tests reported on Sunday. Last week the daily infections were around 10 thousand. "There was some relief about the declining figures, but it is still too early to say whether nothing extra is needed.
On Monday, the government wants to provide clarity, the broadcaster's sources said. Then on Tuesday, Rutte and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge will hold another press conferences, in which they will also say something about traveling abroad. The idea is to discourage people from going abroad over the winter holidays, after the Outbreak Management Team advised last week that foreign holidays should be banned, mentioning winter sports trips in particular.
In the coming two days, before the press conference, the government will keep a close eye on the Covid-19 infection figures. To determine whether this level we've reached will turn into a definite decline in infections, or whether they start to climb again. The government is also investigating the effect of possible new measures.
"At least the last few days the messages have been much more moderately positive, but then there is also a question that needs to be answered: Do you want to accelerate the decline in the number of infections? Are there ways to do this and what is the economic and social damage that this entails? We have to weigh that well," Rutte said to reporters on Friday.