Dutch gov't to advise against travel for 10 weeks; Saunas, pools to close: Reports
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge will ask residents of the Netherlands not to travel abroad through at least mid-January, anonymous sources told broadcaster NOS. The two will speak at a press conference scheduled for Tuesday night, and were also expected to announce that swimming pools and saunas will be required to close for two weeks starting at 10 p.m. on Wednesday, sources told RTL Nieuws.
There will also be further limits on fitness centers, people meeting in public, weddings, and funerals.
The goal of the travel policy will be to prevent a repeat of a spike in infections which resulted from groups of people interacting with each other during winter sports holidays during the 2019-2020 ski and snowboard season. Just last week, over a thousand people tested positive for a SARS-CoV-2 infection within two weeks of returning to the Netherlands from a foreign destination. That figure has risen for six consecutive weeks, according to figures from public health agency RIVM.
The new travel advice will also include countries covered by a Code Yellow advisory issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which means that visitors should take appropriate precautions. A Code Orange advisory is issued when only urgently necessary travel is considered acceptable. The more severe Code Red warnings are for areas where travel should be avoided at all costs.
It was not clear if the advice will also cover Code Green countries, which have no existing warning.
Changes ahead for saunas, pools, gyms and groups
In addition to closing saunas and swimming pools, group classes in fitness centers will also be forbidden, RTL Nieuws reported. Earlier leaks suggested that amusement parks, cinemas, concert venues, libraries, museums, theaters and zoos will also have to remain closed for at least a two-week period.
Gyms will remain open because working out is important to both physical and mental health, NOS said.
A maximum number of two people from mixed households will be permitted on the streets, effectively banning any group formations in public. Weddings will be further limited to 20 people, and funerals to 30, both broadcasters stated.
Close-contact professions will be allowed to remain open, RTL reported.
Ultimately, the Cabinet wants to bring down the number of personal interactions people have with each other, and reduce the amount of movements from one location to another. Data provided by Google this week suggested that the number of movements during rush hour were returning back to levels unseen since March before the Cabinet's "intelligent lockdown."