Cabinet meeting today on relaxing remaining Covid rules
On Tuesday, the Cabinet is meeting to discuss abolishing almost all the remaining coronavirus rules. The team of Ministers will meet around noon to make a formal decision, but further relaxations will likely be announced. They'll take effect next Tuesday.
The Netherlands implemented its first coronavirus measures in March 2020. A little more than two years later, Health Minister Ernst Kuipers will likely announce that almost all of them are scrapped for the time being.
Not many rules remain in force. Therefore, the relaxations will not be announced at a large press conference on Tuesday evening. Instead, the Cabinet will talk to the press at Prime Minister Mark Rutte's Ministry of General Affairs. Rutte himself won't be there, insiders confirmed. Kuipers alone will explain the Cabinet's decisions. Kuipers also did the previous coronavirus press conference alone.
The restrictions that are still in force mainly relate to specific situations. For example, people have to wear face masks on public transport. And those who want to go to large, indoor events have to get tested beforehand. Those who can are also advised to work from home at least half the week.
The Outbreak Management Team gave the Cabinet the green light to implement relaxations but noted that face masks in public transport still have added value when the infection level is high. The work from home advice and quarantine rules should also remain in force, the team of experts said. They stressed that the Cabinet is responsible for the final decision.
The Cabinet considers relaxation justified because the pressure on healthcare and the risk that the coronavirus will disrupt society is now much smaller. This is partly due to the less pathogenic Omicron variant of the virus and partly because many people have antibodies against the coronavirus due to vaccination or previous infection.
The coronavirus rules will not disappear completely, however. There are still rules for people who travel abroad. Face masks remain mandatory on the plane. The basic rules to wash your hands and get tested if you have symptoms will also stay in place.
Some of the rules can be reintroduced quickly if needed because the legal basis still exists. For example, the social distancing rule is still in the law. It currently stipulates that you must keep at least zero meters away from others. In practice, the rule has thus been deleted. But it can be reintroduced at any time.
Reporting by ANP.