Rutte: Work at home as much as possible returns due to Delta variant
Residents of the Netherlands will again be advised to work from home as much as possible as the country attempts to fight back against a possible fourth wave of coronavirus infections brought on by the Delta variant of the virus, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in Parliament on Wednesday. The request that people work from home was lifted, along with most other coronavirus restrictions in the country, on June 26.
Five days later, coronavirus infections in the Netherlands increased forcefully. The average number of daily infections over the past week has risen above where it was before a mandatory curfew was put in place in the country in January. Since then, the Cabinet re-introduced limits that forced the closure of nightclubs, limited opening hours of the hospitality sector, reduced attendance for events, and blocked multi-day festivals from taking place.
Over a third of infections last week were linked to the hospitality industry. "Given the figures," the Cabinet will not tighten up restrictions even further, Rutte said. The call to restore the "work from home" request was made by centrist coalition party D66 and opposition left-wing parties GroenLinks, PvdA and SP.
Far-right leader Geert Wilders also pressed the government on making ventilation the fourth part of the basic measures in the Netherlands. Such calls have been made frequently by school groups in the country. The others are a call to get tested and remain home with health complaints, keep 1.5 meters away from others, and to practice good hygiene like frequent hand washing.
Rutte said the government will adopt the recommendation and make the provision of fresh air the fourth piece of basic advice. "We are working on that and we will continue to work on it," Rutte said. "We will also put it on a sign at the press conferences."