The government has done a u-turn on its earlier decision to allow people to access ‘test for entry’ events as soon as they have had one vaccine dose, following a surge in new coronavirus infections.
Since the strategy was introduced on June 26 and most coronavirus rules were relaxed, the number of new cases has shot up from 569 to 2,253 and the under-25s now account for 60% of all positive tests.
The move not to enforce a waiting period was slammed by virologists and MPs.
Healthcare minister Hugo de Jonge said the increase in new cases was to be expected given that most of the rules aimed at keeping the virus at bay had been lifted, including wearing masks in all but public transport.
Nevertheless, the speed at which this is happening is ‘reason for concern’ and the new waiting time will be introduced ‘in the short term’, he said on Tuesday.
The change of heart will bring the Netherlands into line with most of its European neighbours.
Weighing the risks
Last Friday De Jonge told reporters that the decision to allow people to go clubbing as soon as they have had a single vaccine dose was taken after weighing the health risks against the practicalities.
In addition to being a sensible move, being able to access events immediately was ‘a reason for many people’ to get vaccinated quickly, De Jonge said.
Since then, however, the number of positive coronavirus tests has soared and a club in Enschede is at the centre of a major outbreak, with over 180 known cases. In addition, 78 out of 250 students who attended a party on a boat in Rotterdam have also tested positive. There have also been outbreaks at the Hotel School in The Hague and in Groningen.
While almost 17 million vaccine doses have been administered in the Netherlands, millions of people have still only had one shot.
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