Reopening primary schools and childcare will be the first stage of a ‘route map’ out of the lockdown when coronavirus infection levels have fallen to a safer level, according to sources quoted in the Parool.
The government is said to be drawing up a five-stage schedule for relieving the measures. Lifting the 9pm curfew is another early priority, followed by reopening shops and ‘contact professions’ such as hairdressers.
The outbreak management team of scientific advisers is said to favour holding the lockdown as long as possible and removing all the measures in one go rather than a step-by-step approach.
Current lockdown restrictions will continue until February 9, with the government due to announce the next stage on February 2. Most indicators are four to five times what healthcare authorities regard as the levels at which measures can be scaled down.
The gradual method was used after the first wave of infections in May, when primary schoolchildren returned to the classroom before teenagers. Restaurants, cinemas and bars did not open until June 1, initially with a maximum of 30 customers.
‘It’s more or less a matter of coming out in the same order we went in, with opening primary schools and removing the curfew as priorities,’ a source told the Parool.
Prime minister Mark Rutte is said to be in favour of publishing a detailed exit plan to give ‘perspective’ on the progress of the lockdown. A draft is reported to be being prepared for Friday’s ministerial meeting.
It was not reported whether the plan would include targets for the number of infections, hospital admissions and intensive care cases. Last year’s plan said the government would take action if cases rose to seven per 100,000 people per day, but this limit did not lead to extra lockdown measures when it was passed in July.
Currently there are around 27 infections per 100,000 people nationwide and every one of the 25 health board regions is classed as ‘very serious’ on the four-stage alert system.