No-go Christmas travel, museum closures on cards ahead of coronavirus update

Social distancing in a hospital waiting room. Photo: Odi Busman
Social distancing in a hospital waiting room. Photo: Odi Busman

Prime minister Mark Rutte and health minister Hugo de Jonge will hold a press conference to outline the latest coronavirus situation on Tuesday and are widely expected to red flag travel over the winter break.

The government’s Outbreak Managment Team advisors have already said they support measures to discourage travel during the Christmas holidays, particularly to Austrian and French ski resorts, where hundreds of Dutch winter sports fans picked up coronavirus last year.

Rutte said last Friday he would give more clarity about the winter travel situation during the Tuesday meeting.

The number of positive coronavirus tests fell for the third day in a row on Monday, dropping to 8,306, according to the latest figures from the public health agency RIVM.

The figure has fallen by 25% from Friday’s peak of over 11,000 and is nearly 20% down on last Monday’s figure. However, the number of patients in hospital is still rising, leading speculation that the government will impose extra lockdown measures from Thursday.

These, according to insiders in The Hague, could involve the closure of museums, cinemas, theatres and amusement parks. However, gyms are likely to be exempt from the closures, because of the importance of exercise, both physically and mentally.

Ministers may also reduce the size of groups who can attend weddings and funerals, and cut the maximum group size outdoors from four to two.

The press conference is broadcast live on television and radio and you can follow events via the Twitter feed.

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