Open nightclubs, fuller football stadiums: Cabinet to relax Covid restrictions next week
The Cabinet is looking at relaxing more coronavirus restrictions next week, sources close to the government told Nieuwsuuur. While society won't open completely, they are looking at fuller football stadiums and theaters and nightclubs being allowed to reopen, the sources said.
While the Omicron variant continues to spread throughout the Netherlands, the Cabinet no longer expects it to cause skyrocketing hospital admissions, partly due to the high vaccination rate among the elderly and the growing number of young people who have recovered from the coronavirus. "That makes relaxing more quickly wise: now many elderly people are fully protected because of a recent booster, and the chance that many young people will experience severe consequences from a coronavirus infection is slight," political reporter Arjan Noorlander said to the program.
The coronavirus access pass will likely not be scrapped yet, despite a petition calling for that by former State Secretary Mona Keijzer getting almost 700,000 signatures by Monday evening.
According to the Nieuwsuur sources, the government wants to eventually move towards a system that monitors the pandemic without large-scale vaccination and testing. Instead, the Cabinet intends to monitor developments through home testing, sample testing, and sewage research. The Cabinet also wants to set up a system of rapid boosters in the case of a new variant so that the elderly and vulnerable can be protected within a month.
Next week Tuesday, Prime Minister Mark Rutte is debating the government statement in the Eerste Kamer, the Dutch Senate. According to Nieuwsuur's sources, the Cabinet may use this as an opportunity to establish a new normal, in which coronavirus press conferences are held only by the Health Minister, Ernst Kuipers.