The cabinet is forced to take stricter measures for the whole of the Netherlands to combat the coronavirus.
“We saw that the serious situation in the big cities was going to apply to the whole country,” said Prime Minister Rutte at the press conference yesterday. “The map is getting redder and redder.”
On Friday, the cabinet thought that measures in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague were still sufficient, but the situation turned out to be more serious. As the infections continued to rise through the weekend, this did not sound enough.
Minister De Jonge agreed with him. “It’s getting busier on the streets, the trains are getting fuller, and working from home isn’t always happening. People with complaints don’t always stay at home. Infected people often seem to have met many others. Unfortunately, this is no exception.”
In an outdoor event, only 40 person can be allowed; there comes a 30 person restriction inside cafes, bars and restaurants. Group strengths are limited to four people; home visitors restricted to three, over the age of 13. New closing time for the Cafes and restaurants is 9pm. No supporters allowed at both professional and amateur events for the three-week period.
Rutte and De Jonge pointed out people’s own responsibility. Rutte: “If you have a store or café, or if you are a customer or guest somewhere, then you’ve a responsibility to follow the rules.”
The cabinet hopes that everyone understands why the extra measures are necessary. “We find that more important than ever,” said Rutte.
De Jonge: “Of every 170 people you meet now, there is one that you can infect. Within a month, healthcare can get overburdened, and overburdened healthcare affects all of us”.
De Jonge said he expected that, despite measures, by mid-October there will be more than 400 corona patients in the ICU.
Rutte said that as an “extra caution”, the stores in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague, can introduce wearing face masks. After the press conference Mayor Halsema of Amsterdam said that the advice to wear a face mask will apply to the regions Amsterdam-Amstelland, Rotterdam-Rijnmond, Haaglanden and Brabant-Zuidoost (near Eindhoven, Helmond).
According to Rutte, face masks do have some effect. That’s why they are also mandatory in public transport. “But it won’t do the big trick, it’s not the big trick that solves everything”. He thinks he’s going to wear one himself.
The cabinet expects that these new measures will certainly have economic consequences. That’s why the cabinet is going to consult with companies and trade unions.
De Jonge: “Our behavior, that is what will make the difference. In two weeks from now, there’ll be another press conference.” If the measures do not help, then a real lockdown is not out of the question.
Translation: Chaitali Sengupta, Who gives ONLINE Inburgering classes.