Outbreak team discussing new Covid measures today
The Outbreak Management Team (OMT) will meet again on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the current coronavirus situation in the Netherlands. The experts will discuss whether more is needed to curb the spread of the virus than the measures that took effect last weekend. The OMT will then advise the Cabinet on what steps to take. Since Saturday, people have to show a coronavirus access pass in more places and wear face masks again in public indoor spaces.
The experts of the OMT, including RIVM boss Jaap van Dissel, will update the Cabinet on Thursday during a meeting in the Catshuis, the Prime Minister's residence in The Hague. The final decision will be made on Friday, after which a press conference will likely follow with caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte and corona Minister Hugo de Jonge.
It is not yet certain that new rules will be announced. The Cabinet may think it is too early to draw conclusions after tightened rules took effect last Saturday. The impact of this will still be virtually invisible on Friday.
Insiders say that the Cabinet is now probably listening "more than ever" to the OMT regarding new measures. Those would not be on the table yet, sources say. The government would especially like to see first signs that people have changed their behavior, for example, by traveling less within the Netherlands. If those signals are not forthcoming, measures are more likely. The Cabinet does not always follow the full advice of the OMT.
On Wednesday, the Jonge and caretaker Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus (Justice and Security) will discuss the state of affairs. There will also be various coronavirus consultations for the rest of the week, including with the mayors who form the Security Council.
The number of Covid-19 infections in the Netherlands is skyrocketing, with 76,790 people testing positive in the past week - a record for this year. On Monday, De Jonge warned that the government might have to implement even more restrictions as early as Friday. He also said that he could not rule out lockdown-like measures.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times