Netherlands to face more lockdown-like measures without 2G coronavirus passes: Health Minister
The prospect of banning people who are not yet vaccinated against Covid-19, and those who have not recovered from the disease, from entering locations like hospitality businesses is a difficult and far-reaching measure, acknowledged Health Minister Hugo de Jonge. However, without this restriction of freedom, "lockdown-like measures will be needed more often" against the coronavirus this winter, he warned.
The caretaker Cabinet wants to present a bill for the proposed 2G policy at the end of this week. It means that only those who have been vaccinated or recovered can still go to places where the coronavirus access pass is required. This is now also possible when a negative coronavirus test result is obtained, known as the 3G system.
In the Tweede Kamer, support for the tighter policy is not guaranteed to win the approval of parliamentarians. Some parties that are considered to be part of the "sensible center" are also outspoken about whether it is proportional to subject unvaccinated people to this degree of exclusion.
De Jonge called it "a life-size dilemma," and said he understands that there are parties who prefer not to create that distinction. "But that's not a free choice," he warned. "It is this, or closures more often. I can also imagine that vaccinated people and entrepreneurs will say, "Now my freedom is being restricted in a way that is not necessary at all."
De Jonge emphasized that 2G will only be mandatory in places where the risk of contamination is high. By only admitting people who are protected by a vaccine or a prior infection, the cabinet wants to prevent the healthcare system from becoming overloaded. Elsewhere, entrepreneurs are given the choice of whether people will also be welcome after a test.
Ernst Kuipers, the head of LNAZ, the national acute care network, would not comment on the 2G system on Monday. "Infections have to come down. That you can check people at larger events to what extent they are protected, I think that is very sensible. Whether that has to be done with 2G or 3G."
Kuipers is not now a member of the Outbreak Management Team. He did comment on the new coronavirus restrictions introduced by the Cabinet on Friday. "I am happy that a Cabinet chose to say, no matter how much resistance there is and how difficult it is, "We feel compelled to move forward with the next set. Something has to be done; the numbers have to go down."
Over 19,000 people were diagnosed with the coronavirus infection between Sunday and Monday morning, a new record.
Reporting by ANP.