MPs are continuing to debate the caretaker cabinet’s decision to introduce a curfew in the Netherlands in an effort to keep more virulent strains of coronavirus at bay.
A further, 5,857 new infections were reported to the public health institute RIVM in the 24 hours to Thursday morning, a rise of 260 on Wednesday’s total, and further evidence that the current restrictions are not yet having sufficient impact.
The introduction of a curfew is the best way to reduce the number of infections taking place at home, Rutte said. The only alternative, he said, was to advise everyone to stay indoors, which would be even more far reaching.
During the debate, which started at 10.15 on Thursday morning, Rutte indicated he may be willing to push back the deadline from 8.30pm to 9pm, but no later.
NOS political correspondent Ron Frensen said it is likely parliament will back the idea of a curfew, although MPs are likely to want to move the start time from 8.30 pm to later in the evening as a compromise.
During the debate, a number of MPs raised concerns about the impact of a curfew on people who are already feeling more lonely and depressed because of the current restrictions.
‘We need human contact,’ said Esther Ouwehand of the pro-animal PvdD. Youngsters have already been driven to suicide by social distancing, she said, and asked why no behavioural experts had been brought in to help assess what could be done.
Others said the government had failed to properly enforce the rules already in place and had not been quick enough off the mark with the vaccination programme.
Justice minister Ferd Grapperhaus told MPs the list of exceptions to the curfew had been deliberately kept as short as possible to ensure as many people as possible comply.
The fine for breaking the curfew without a valid reason will be €95, but people who forge an employers declaration stating they have to be out late will get a higher fine, and a criminal record, he said.
DutchNews.nl will give an update on the vote as soon as it has been taken.
Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.
We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.Make a donation