Dutch PM Rutte to tell citizens not to travel at least through May 9: Report
The caretaker Cabinet in the Netherlands will likely extend the stern advisory against traveling through the May vacation period, which ends on May 9. Prime Minister Mark Rutte was expected to make the announcement during a prime time press conference on Tuesday evening to update the Dutch public on the coronavirus pandemic situation and related policy initiatives, anonymous government sources told the Telegraaf.
The decision will push the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to keep the global minimum travel warning level for health-related reasons at Code Orange, the second worst of four levels. That means that only urgent and necessary travel, not holiday tourism or family visits, is considered acceptable by their standards.
Rutte last discussed the travel restrictions during a press conference two weeks ago when he said that the Cabinet would extend the negative travel advisory through April 15. At that time, he said that an update would be given by March 23, the scheduled date for his next press conference with Health Minister Hugo de Jonge.
“The urgent advice remains: stay in the Netherlands, don't travel," he said at the time. “On March 23, at the next press conference, we will issue a separate travel advice for the May holiday and hopefully we will be able to say something about the summer holiday. Because let's be honest: we all yearn for that, for a break, a different environment, a different culture.”
Since March 8, the average number of daily coronavirus infections has risen by 41 percent. The combined basic reproduction value of the SARS-CoV-2 viral strains has also gone up from below 1.00 to 1.13, meaning that 100 people contagious with the infection will pass it on to 113 others. At the same time, testing rose sharply over the past two weeks, and the percentage of people testing positive for the infections has held close to or below 8 percent.
Should the Covid-19 vaccination rollout in the Netherlands pick up steam, more flexibility will be afforded for summer travel, the Telegraaf reported. Health Minister Hugo de Jonge has pledged to give all adult residents the opportunity to be vaccinated with at least one dose of an approved Covid-19 vaccine by July.
It was not likely that an outright ban on international travel would be implemented by the Dutch government. The press conference with all final decisions will take place on Tuesday at 7 p.m.