Cabinet overruled outbreak advisors with more lenient Covid restrictions
On Friday evening, the Cabinet announced that coronavirus restrictions would be tightened again due to the sharp increase in the number of infections. The measures took effect at 6 a.m. on Saturday, but the Outbreak Management Team (OMT) wanted the rules to apply before the weekend kicked off, NOS wrote.
The Cabinet did not heed the emergency advice from the OMT, allowing nightclubs to stay open for one last night. According to the OMT, the sharp increase in the number of infections is partly due to parties in discos and nightclubs.
The OMT also argued for shorter opening hours for the catering industry than the government installed. Experts said that the Cabinet should have considered only keeping restaurants, cafes and bars open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. The Cabinet decided to let catering businesses stay open until midnight.
Additionally, the OMT urged the government to lower the maximum number of visitors allowed at home down to eight and to issue an urgent advice not to organize house parties. During the press conference, Prime Minister Mark Rutte advised people to “Keep parties small and manageable and keep 1.5 meters away.”
The OMT said that an increase in the number of infections can mainly be seen in the age group of 18- to 25-year-olds. Outside of this group, there is “no obvious increase” experts said. According to the OMT, there is, therefore, no reason to recommend additional measures except “to limit the spread among party groups in the indoor area.”
The OMT also noted that hospital occupancy is at a “stable low”.
The coronavirus risk levels for the security regions are on the rise, health minister Hugo de Jonge wrote to the Tweede Kamer. He pointed out that if the rapid increase in infection number continues in the coming days, more regions will end up at the ‘severe’ risk level. In the letter to parliament, de Jonge did not mention which regions he was referring to.
On Friday, ten regions were still at the lowest out of four risk levels and 15 regions were at the second risk level.