Coronavirus press conference tonight: No relaxation expected
Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Public Health Minister Hugo de Jonge will hold a press conference at 7:00 p.m. this evening to tell residents of the Netherlands what the festive season will look like in terms of coronavirus restrictions.
The Netherlands has been in a partial lockdown since mid-October, involving restrictions like restaurants being closed to everything but takeaways, and strict limits to the number of guests one may receive at home. On Friday, Rutte said that they had hoped these measures would reduce the number of daily coronavirus infections to around 3 thousand by December 10.
But after weeks of declining figures, the decrease stagnated and they even began to rise again last week, topping 7,100 on Monday. As the number of infections are still so high, the government was not expected to relax any major measures for the festive season, insiders told Dutch media after the cabinet met with its coronavirus advisers on Sunday.
Also, measures were not expected to be tightened further. It was under consideration to expand the two-week winter school holiday to three, but that plan was reportedly shot down. Rutte himself also indicated he was not in favor of the idea, but would listen carefully to the experts.
There were hopes that the government would increase the limit on house guests over the festive season. Currently, one may only host up to three visitors per day, excluding children up to the age of 12. Last month, the Outbreak Management Team advised that Christmas should be celebrated in the home circle, with a maximum of six guests, though several OMT members later said that in the face of rising infections there was little justification to increase the limit.