Party leaders somber after discussing Covid measures with cabinet
The leaders of the political parties in parliament were somber as they left a meeting with the cabinet, to discuss extra coronavirus measures set to be announced this evening. They would not comment much to the press, but most spoke of a "worrying situation", NOS reports.
"It was interesting, but I cannot say anything about it yet," PVV leader Geert Wilders said as he left the Ministry of General Affairs, Prime Minister Mark Rutte's Ministry.
"It seems that we have to take harsher measures because we find it difficult to stick to the lighter measures," VVD leader Klaas Dijkhoff said.
FvD leader Thierry Baudet came out of the meeting pointing a finger at his forehead, according to the broadcaster. Before the meeting, he said that a lockdown would be "terrible" for the Netherlands. "There is already a lot of damage to the country, I hope that Rutte does not choose to harm the country even more," he said before the meeting. According to him, the coronavirus "threatens a specific group. They should be protected and not the whole of society."
PvdA leader Lodewijk Asscer also did not comment to the media after the meeting, but said before entering that measures are desperately needed. He just worries that this is far too late.
The mayors in the Security Council, who head the 25 security regions in the country called strict measures inevitable. "We must now take firm action," mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb of Rotterdam said to NOS before the Council met with Justice Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus on Monday. "We missed this exit a few months ago."
"We yearn for firm action. We can't go on like this. The situation is almost impossible to maintain," mayor Annemarie Penn-te Strake of Maastricht said.
Sources told NOS that Rutte would be announcing a hard lockdown this evening, closing all retailers except supermarkets, food stores and pharmacies, as well as schools, museums, cinemas, amusement parks, and contact professions like hairdressers and masseuses.
The Prime Minister will address the nation at 7:00 p.m. this evening, followed by a press conference by Health Minister Hugo de Jonge.