Rutte apologizes for releasing coronavirus measures too soon
Prime Minister Mark Rutte acknowledged that the Cabinet had made an error of judgment with the rapid relaxation of coronavirus lockdown restrictions at the end of June. “What we thought was possible was not”, Rutte said according to ANP. He offered his apologies for that.
Rutte also said he was sorry for the “bad press conference” on Friday. “You asked for our reflection and it was unfair that we didn’t provide that”, Rutte said to journalists. According to Rutte, he and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge were preoccupied with the details of the new set of coronavirus rules being announced that day, and as a result were not well prepared to address critical questions about the situation over the past few weeks."
On Friday Rutte and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge dismissed accusations the Cabinet had released restrictions too early at the end of June. The ministers maintained that with the knowledge they had at the time from the Outbreak Management (OMT) and the RIVM and the rapidly decreasing coronavirus infection numbers, the decision had been responsible.
After not directly stating who was to blame for the sharp rise in infections, a reporter asked De Jonge if he was qualified to remain in his position as health minister. “There is really no ground for a minister to resign now. That's really an exaggerated question. And I also want to continue with the press conference, because you have asked the question three times now and he is not going to resign,” Rutte said.
Nightclubs and discotheques were allowed to open again and the restrictions on the opening hours for the catering industry were lifted. Certain measures were reinstalled on Friday, including that nightclubs had to close their doors again after only being open for two weeks.The events sector was also heavily restricted with limits affecting festival attendance, forcing visitors to remain seated, and disallowing overnight stays during multi-day events. Many festivals announced their plans to move forward with their summer schedule only after the Cabinet announced people could freely attend events to full capacity.
On Saturday, the Netherlands reported the highest number of new coronavirus cases since Christmas while on Sunday, Amsterdam the most new infections in a single day in about two months.