The Netherlands Regional Safety Councils are having their weekly meeting tonight. Then they’ll decide whether to introduce a curfew.
Some mayors are concerned about how enforceable a curfew will be. They also question whether there; s sufficient evidence that this will affect the country’s COVID-19 infection rate.
Eindhoven’s Mayor, John Jorritsma, isn’t opposed to the introduction of a curfew. He, however, wants that region’s Security Council to be sufficiently convinced that the measure works. There are currently no such arguments to support this, he said in a recent TV interview.
‘Prepared to consider it’
But, he said the region’s mayors are prepared to entertain the idea. “If we’re heading for a concrete wall and we can avert it by taking one of those measures, like curfew, then we’re prepared to take that into consideration,” Mayor Jorritsma said.
He’s worried that, in March, the Netherlands will find itself in the same situation as the United Kingdom. “With ambulances queuing in front of the hospital. Then everyone will say we should’ve decided about a curfew earlier.”
The possible 20:00 – 04:00 curfew should curb people getting together. This is turn, should reduce the chance of infection. According to experts, it’s difficult to estimate the effect of such a temporary ban.
Depends on people’s reaction
Jan Kluytmans, professor and head of medical microbiology at the Amphia Hospital in Breda, says it depends on how people deal with it. “People may do the activities they wanted to do in the evening in the afternoon,” he told Op1.
A curfew should lower COVID-19’s r-value by between ten and 15 per cent, says Kluytmans. He referred to a study in the leading scientific journal Science. According to him, they have good experiences with curfews in Belgium.
The corona figures have been falling for the past few days. Its r-value is now just under one. But, to fight the so-called British variant, closing schools, shops, and restaurants isn’t enough, says Kluytmans.
Primary schools won’t open
Over the weekend, the news came that primary schools are also to remain closed until 8 February. That’s up to when the latest lockdown has been extended. The situation will be updated in the week before that.
The Lower House isn’t in favour of a curfew. Various parties find it’s too heavy-handed an approach. However, last week, outgoing Prime Minister Mar Rutte implored MPs not to block the measure.
The police are preparing for enforcement. Many more police officers are needed on the streets, said Willem Welders, the national police’s COVID-19 commander.
Translator: Melinda Walraven