Lockdown extension, school closures likely announced in Covid press conference tonight
In a press conference on Tuesday evening, caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge will announce what the coronavirus restrictions will look like over the holiday period. The expectation is that they will extend the current evening lockdown by three weeks.
The current restrictions include catering establishments and non-essential stores being closed from 5:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. daily. Only drug stores and supermarkets can remain open until 8:00 p.m. Netherlands residents are also urged not to receive more than four visitors per day. However, some sources reported that this limit would be increased to eight visitors per day over the Christmas holidays.
Before the press conference on Tuesday, the Cabinet will decide whether or not to close primary schools for the Christmas break a week early. The Outbreak Management Team advised doing so to stop the coronavirus from spreading among school kids and their parents. The Cabinet always said it is committed to keeping schools open. But on Monday, De Jonge said you have to adjust to the situation, and the current situation is worrying.
Minister De Jonge will likely also announce how the Covid-19 booster shot campaign will be sped up. On Monday, GGD GHOR Nederland said that all Netherlands residents who want a booster shot should be able to get one by mid-March at the latest.
The number of daily coronavirus infections in the Netherlands has started falling, but pressure on hospitals is still high. Most hospitals are still unable to provide all their scheduled care. There are also concerns about the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, which seems to be even more contagious than the now dominant Delta variant.