Dutch Health Min. says it's possible all Covid rules will soon disappear
Health Minister Ernst Kuipers said that it is conceivable there will no longer be a need for coronavirus rules later this year. "I would strongly take that into account," he said on Monday. The number of infections will still have to fall sharply before that happens, he added.
Kuipers met with Cabinet members on Monday to discuss possibilities for the further loosening of coronavirus rules. Any changes will likely be announced on Tuesday. The Cabinet received new advice from the Outbreak Management Team, following their meeting late last week. The health minister was not willing to comment on the latest briefing from the Cabinet's pandemic advisors.
Last week, Kuipers informed the Tweede Kamer in a letter which measures the Cabinet wants to relax. It is the intention that the closing times for many sectors including the hospitality industry could be extended to 1 a.m. Social distancing rules could also be eliminated at various locations, including stadiums and theaters, giving them an opportunity to open to a larger number of customers and ticket holders.
Events without assigned seating can potentially also welcome up to 500 people if they can show a coronavirus access pass. At larger events, a face mask obligation, assigned seating, and an access pass are expected to apply. On Monday evening, Justice Minister Dilan Yesilgöz will consult with the 25 mayors on the Security Council about the different scenarios up for consideration.
On Tuesday evening, Kuipers will announce any changes the Cabinet has agreed to implement. It will be the first such press conference with only the health minister, and without Prime Minister Mark Rutte. On Tuesday, the Cabinet will conclude a series of consultations about the relaxation of coronavirus measures during a final meeting before the announcement.
The coronavirus press conference will also provide more perspective about the near future. In the coming month, most coronavirus measures are likely to be scrapped, which could continue with the end of 1.5 meter social distancing requirements from 25 February.
Reporting by ANP