Health Minister says new coronavirus measures will always be painful
It is inevitable that the coronavirus measures the Cabinet will announce Tuesday night will include new restrictions, and that they will be painful. "Otherwise they will not work," said caretaker Health Minister Hugo de Jonge. He spoke in The Hague prior to a meeting with several other Cabinet ministers in which they will make final decisions about the new policy.
New measures are inevitable "because we see that the hospital figures are rising," the health minister said. According to the Cabinet, intervention is necessary to keep healthcare accessible "for everyone". De Jonge said he wants to enact measures in a "fair and balanced manner.”
Sources close to the Cabinet said on Monday that the Cabinet wants to resume the use of face masks in public indoor spaces and at close contact professions starting Friday. They also intend to use coronavirus access passes at more places, such as in the gym, and at many locations with more foot traffic, like museums. The advice about working from home will likely be tightened up as well, with a recommendation that people should do half of their work remotely from home if possible.
The Cabinet is also preparing to introduce coronavirus access passes in higher education, should this prove necessary at a later date. The intention is that the plans for this will be prepared as soon as possible for submission to the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch Parliament. The Tweede Kamer members must first agree to the extension of the coronavirus pass system vocational institutions, applied sciences universities, and research universities.
The Cabinet will not immediately announce the introduction of this requirement, said Ingrid van Engelshoven, the caretaker minister of education, culture and science, during an interview on Tuesday. "We've always said that whatever happens, education should remain open as much as possible. And that's the commitment today."
The different courses of action have been prepared and discussed in recent days based on advice from the Outbreak Management Team (OMT). The new measures will be announced at a press conference on Tuesday evening at 7 p.m.
Reporting by ANP.