The cabinet is set to announce a three-week partial lockdown at Friday evening’s press conference, in an effort to get the Netherlands soaring coronavirus infections under control, Dutch media report.
Cafes, restaurants and bars will have to close at 7pm, as will non-essential shops. People will also be advised to work at home as much as possible and to limit the number of visitors to no more than four, cabinet sources have told broadcaster NOS.
The measures will come into effect at 7pm on Saturday, NOS said.
According to the AD, cafes and bars may also have to bring back compulsory seating but there are no plans to bring in a general curfew.
The new restrictions have been prompted by a surge in both coronavirus cases and hospital admissions. On Thursday, over 16,300 new cases were reported, a daily record, and the number of people on IC wards has now reached 330.
A three-week partial lockdown is more than recommended by government health advisors, but is being seen as a trade off against other advice. The government is not planning to close cinemas and theatres – which had been suggested by the Outbreak Management Team.
Sports matches can go ahead but without supporters, NOS said. This means Tuesday evening’s World Cup qualification game between Oranje and Norway would take place in an empty stadium.
In the meantime, the cabinet wants to anchor other measures – such as the return of social distancing – in law, NOS said. It will take one or two weeks to get that through both houses of parliament.
However, ministers have not yet decided whether to shift to the so-called 2G system, where coronavirus passes are only issued to people who are either fully vaccinated or have recently had coronavirus.
That discussion will continue at Friday morning’s cabinet meeting, but preparations are underway to implement it, RTL Nieuws said.
Ministers will also brief the 25 regional safety board chiefs about the changes on Friday morning.
The press conference will take place at 7pm and DutchNews.nl will live tweet as ministers outline the new measures.
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