Netherlands drops last Covid rules amid hospitalization rise
NL Times produced a separate article about the elimination of some entry rules for people traveling to the Netherlands.
The Dutch Cabinet decided to scrap mandatory face masks on public transport but still advises people to use them when on the bus, tram, or train. Employees are no longer advised to work from home. And testing for access will be abolished altogether, also at large indoor events, Minister Ernst Kuipers of Public Health announced at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon after a meeting with the involved Ministers, NOS and NU.nl report.
Kuipers announced the relaxation of the rules exactly two years after the Netherlands announced its first coronavirus lockdown measures. The announcement also comes at a time when Covid-19 hospitalizations are increasing. But according to Kuipers, the hospital figures are still within the expected levels, and the number of infections is stable. Hospitalizations are rising because most people now testing positive for Covid-19 is over 50, he said.
The changes will take effect on March 23. With that, most of the Netherlands coronavirus rules are done with. From next Tuesday, mostly advice applies - wash your hands regularly, get tested if you have symptoms, and wear a mask on public transport. People who test positive for Covid-19 must still stay home and self-isolate. Face masks remain mandatory on planes because this is part of an international agreement.
The government is scrapping the work from home advice with immediate effect. Until today, people were advised to work from home at least half the week. Now employees and employers can figure out hybrid-working between themselves.
Testing for access, or the 1G access policy, only applied to people who attended large indoor events. All attendees had to test negative for Covid-19 if they wanted to access it. That will no longer be necessary.
The changes go a bit further than the Outbreak Management Team's advice. The OMT said that face masks in public transport still have added value when the number of infections is high. The OMT believes face masks are helpful to protect vulnerable people and give them the chance to use public transport safely. The team of experts also advised keeping the work from home advice in place.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times