Prime Minister Rutte said in a press conference today April 15 that he understands that people are eagerly hoping for a relaxation of the rules. But the country “can’t be opened at once.”
Next week, the cabinet will decide whether or not the corona measures can be relaxed after the 28 April deadline. The decision will be based on three key areas. These are, amount of pressure on the healthcare sector, including regular care; the protection of the elderly and vulnerable people, and insight into the virus and how it spreads via testing, tracing and reporting.
The health minister Hugo de Jonge said the government is following the advice of the experts and the experts have not recommended the use of masks on street so far. “There is a shortage of personal protection equipment in the Netherlands and our experts say they are most needed in healthcare. So, for now, the Cabinet is not going to advise the public to wear masks, as announced by Belgium and Germany.”
App and testing
The health minister also informed that next week there will be more clarity about the cabinet’s plans for a corona app. Until now, 750 proposals have been received. “Those will be assessed in terms of usability, privacy, security and applicability,” he said.
The prime minister stressed careful preparation by companies and institutions is necessary to think about ways to relax the measures. ‘The speed of the spread has gone down and that is a good development,’ Rutte said. ‘But the pressure on healthcare is still enormous… We hope that we will be able to relax some aspects but if we can, it will be really limited.’
He was very cautious to raise hopes. “We may also have to take a step back if the virus reappears,” Rutte said.
Translation: Chaitali Sengupta