Ministers are working on the preparations to extend the current curfew, which had been due to expire in the morning of February 10, sources in The Hague have told the AD.
In particular, news that two-thirds of new coronavirus cases in the Netherlands are the more infectious variant first identified in Britain has persuaded some ministers to back an extension, the paper said.
Prime minister Mark Rutte said at Tuesday’s press conference that while everyone would like to see an end to the curfew, a decision could only be taken after government advisors published their recommendations at the end of the week.
Earlier, the Outbreak Management Team said that primary schools can reopen, but that there is no room to relax any more rules, given the rise of the mutated virus.
Ministers will meet again on Sunday to discuss the OMT’s latest report, which is expected on Friday.
Meanwhile, social affairs minister Wouter Koolmees is working on plans to get tough on companies which force their employees to work in the office.
Koolmees said he is working with employers organisations and unions to draw up proper criteria for when working at the office is justified, and that these will be published mid month.
Employees who consider their company is breaking the rules would then be able to call in government inspectors.
In addition, he is working on legislation which would allow company offices to be closed down if they persist in breaking the rules and someone becomes infected.
Work is the third biggest source of traced coronavirus infections.
Koolmees told MPs in his briefing that extra intention is being paid to the physical and mental health of people forced to work at home.
‘Home workers seem to be making the best of it for the time being, but specific attention to their well-being… remains necessary,’ he said.
Loneliness and burnout remain issues, he said. ‘We will continue to monitor the well-being of homeworkers, take measures where necessary together with employers and support the group of homeworkers with tips, information, etc.’
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