Health Min. criticized for telling press about extending restrictions before informing MPs
Opposition parties in parliament are not happy that Health Minister Hugo de Jonge told the press on Tuesday that the current lockdown may stretch after mid-January and that he is considering tighter restrictions over the holidays, before he informed parliament of this.
De Jonge told the press that with the drop in Covid-19 infections slowing down, things are "not looking good" for restrictions being relaxed in time for Christmas, and that he is in fact considering stricter measures. He also said that the current lockdown, which includes that catering establishments are closed for everything but takeaways, may still be in place after mid-January.
"I cannot stand it if Ministers speak to the press and we do not know about it and cannot debate it," PVV leader Geert Wilders said to RTL Nieuws. He wants to debate the current and possible new measures with De Jonge and Prime Minister Mark Rutte. "If he talks to the press, he should talk here too."
SP parliamentarian Frank Futselaar called the press hearing about things before parliament does a "structural problem and a cause of great annoyance". PvdA parliamentarian Lilian Ploumen told the broadcaster that the recent infection figures give rise to a debate, and the debate should not wait until after the next press conference on December 8 as the coalition wants.
Hospitality association KHN was also not pleased about De Jonge's announcement. "After question time in parliament, he indicated that if the fall in the number of infections does not continue at a faster pace, it looks like the partial lockdown will also remain in effect after mid-January," the association said to ANP. "This statement again causes many questions and unrest in the sector because the unambiguous government policy is nowhere to be seen, the reserves have been used up, and again no prospects are offered.