NL to close non-essential stores; Covid press conference expected tonight
The Dutch government is working on much stricter measures against the coronavirus, including closing all non-essential stores for a while. Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Minister Hugo de Jonge of Public Health are expected to hold a press conference on Monday night, sources in The Hague told RTL Nieuws and NOS.
In addition to closing non-essential stores like garden centers, the government is also considering closing "places where people come together", like museums, theaters and amusement parks. The closure of schools is also on the table, as is closing high-contact services like hair salons and massage parlors, as happened in the first coronavirus lockdown in March.
The reason for these far-reaching restrictions is figures Jaap van Dissel of public health institute RIVM presented to Ministers on Sunday during an emergency meeting at the Catshuis, Rutte's residence in The Hague. He reported that the latest data on infections and ICU admissions is alarming, according to RTL.
On Monday, a Ministerial committee will meet, during which the Ministers involved in the fight against the coronavirus will discuss the measures proposed at the Catshuis on Sunday. After that, the Council of Ministers will meet and make a decision. The Security Council, which consists of the mayors that head the 25 security regions in the Netherlands, will be informed about additional measures late afternoon. And those measures will likely be announced by Rutte and De Jonge in a press conference on Monday evening.
Before Sunday's meeting, Rutte and De Jonge were expected to hold a press conference on Tuesday. The fact that the press conference and cabinet meetings were moved up by a day, show how serious the situation is, political reporter Xander van der Wulp said to NOS. It is clear that time is running out now and they don't want to waste time."
On Sunday the RIVM reported 9,924 new coronavirus cases, pushing the seven-day rolling average to 8,100 new cases per day. Last week a total of 56,703 people tested positive for the virus - 47 percent more than the week before.