Pressure on cabinet to step up coronavirus restrictions sooner as infections rise

Photo: Depositphotos
Photo: Depositphotos

Ministers are coming under pressure to bring in stricter rules sooner to stop the rapid rise in coronavirus infections and hospital cases.

On Sunday another 20,717 cases were confirmed by the public health agency RIVM, the sixth day in a row that the daily figure has been above 20,000, while more than one in five of all tests were positive.

Sources in the government’s Outbreak Management Team told website De Week van de Ondernemer that they had asked prime minister Mark Rutte to bring forward a press conference scheduled for December 3, when the current measures are due to be reviewed.

‘The message has to be clearer,’ a source was quoted as saying. ‘The urgency doesn’t seem to be getting through.’

On Sunday the number of coronavirus patients in hospital rose to 2,316, the highest number since May 12, while 466 people are being treated in intensive care. Both numbers have gone up by nearly 25% in the last week.

Cabinet ‘muddling’

Opposition parties in parliament have called for the government to tighten up the test for access system for indoor venues such as bars and restaurants or impose lockdown rules.

Labour party (PvdA) MP Attje Kuiken told Trouw that measures such as closing bars and non-essential shops were now essential to protect the healthcare system over the winter.

‘It’s very tough and I’m going to make myself very unpopular, but we have to do more than muddling through as the cabinet is doing now.

‘If we keep on like this we’ll remain in a situation that nobody wants until far into the spring.’

Other parties are divided over whether the cabinet should restrict access to venues to those who have been vaccinated or recovered from coronavirus – the so-called 2G system – bring in universal testing or impose a universal lockdown.

Hubert Bruls, mayor of Nijmegen and chair of the national safety council, told TV discussion show Buitenhof on Sunday: ‘This week is going to be very tense. If we don’t see fundamental changes, combined with a downturn in the number of infections, we’re on course for a lockdown that will last all winter.’

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