The Cabinet has announced in a press conference today evening that the measures to combat the coronavirus shall be considerably tightened. The measures were outlined after the government’s crisis committee met and discussed the situation prevailing.
Mr. Ferd Grapperhaus, the Security and Justice Minister announced that as per the new measures, all meetings of more than three people are prohibited until 1 June. There is no lower limit of hundred people anymore, although there may be a few exceptions made for ‘funerals and church weddings.’. The government has also decided to give more powers to the mayors. If people throng to the parks, boulevards and other places in the city, the mayors would have the right to close them. Anyone who does not abide by the one and a half metre distance rule may incur hefty fines. (From 400 euros for individuals to 4,000 euros for companies).
The measure for home quarantine is also tightened up. If one member of the family has a fever, the whole family will have to to stay at home. The only exception is for people in vital professions. The measure is meant to protect the most vulnerable, elderly people in the society. This was announced by the health minister Hugo de Jonge.
According to Prime Minister Rutte and the Minister, people have not sufficiently adhered to the rules on social distancing in recent days. Therefore, the rules need to be tightened. He further emphasised that these strengthened measures together result into an “intelligent lockdown.” In an answer to a question, he further said, ” If this doesn’t work, putting the whole country into lockdown is the next step. I hope that’s not necessary.” He seemed visibly irritated at the “Ah, I’m healthy” approach of the youngsters towards this crisis and told them to understand well that even if they don’t be sick, they may infect others.
Schools shall follow the set regulations for the time being. Mr. Grapperhaus: “After 6 April, we will look at whether or not children can go to school.
For the time being, all catering will remain closed until 6 April, after which it will be assessed whether follow-up measures are necessary.”
Over the past 24 hours, the death toll in the Netherlands has risen by 34 to 213, and 545 new infections have occurred. That is what the RIVM announced this afternoon. However the new health minister Martin van Rijn said that there is enough capacity in the intensive care wards to cope up with the inflow of patients in the coming days as hospital care is coordinated nationally at the moment.
Translator: Chaitali Sengupta, who gives inburgering classes in Meerhoven. Click here for more info.