Council of State warns against "yo-yo Covid policy"
The Cabinet's current tendency towards a "yo-yo policy" when it comes to coronavirus restrictions can have significant consequences, the Council of State said in advice regarding the reintroduction of mandatory social distancing. It could leave citizens confused, making them less likely to comply with the rules. And it could damage the credibility and effectiveness of the restrictions, the Council of State said, NOS reports.
The Cabinet reintroduced mandatory social distancing on Wednesday. It means that people have to stay 1.5 meters apart or face a fine of 95 euros. The government scrapped the measure in September. Similar "yo-yo-ing" can be seen with the advice to work from home and mandatory face masks in shops and supermarkets. The Cabinet allowed nightclubs to reopen at the end of July, only to close them again a few weeks later when infections spiked.
"The past period has once again shown that measures are scaled down too quickly if the number of infections falls," the Council of State said. "It must be prevented that, based on the very understandable wish to reopen society, the relaxations implemented have to be reversed shortly afterward." That could lead to "social disappointment" and affect the effectiveness and credibility of the measures.
The RIVM's Coronavirus Behavioral Unit also stressed these risks multiple times, professor of health communication Julia van Weert (University of Amsterdam) said to NOS. "Do not relax too quickly. Prevent measures from having to be reversed. It is very difficult for people to adhere to the rules again so soon after their mindset changed to: that is no longer necessary," Van Weert said. "When in doubt, it's better to sit on the safe side: relax in steps."
The caretaker Cabinet is under pressure to tighten the coronavirus restrictions again as the number of daily infections remains above 20,000, despite the yo-yo effect. On Friday, Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge will hold a press conference about the coronavirus situation. The press conference is happening a week earlier than planned.