No decision yet on early school holidays ahead of Covid press conference

Prime minister Mark Rutte and health minister Hugo de Jonge are expected to announce an extension of the 5pm shutdown into the New Year when they hold a coronavirus press conference on Tuesday evening.

It is still unclear if ministers have decided to close schools a week early, as advised by the Outbreak Management Team this week.

Education minister Arie Slob and school chiefs are reportedly not in favour of an extended break, even though youngsters currently account for the largest share of new infections.

However, the current package of coronavirus measures, including 5pm closing for bars and restaurants, is set to continue into next year, ministers reportedly decided on Sunday at a meeting at the Catshuis in The Hague.

The decision, if confirmed on Tuesday evening, means that non-essential shops, gyms and fitness centres will have to close at 5pm for several more weeks.

In addition, the recommendation that individual households welcome no more than four guests per day will remain in place – despite earlier pledges this would be lifted for the Christmas period, broadcaster NOS reported.

While the number of positive coronavirus tests reported to public health institute RIVM has gone down in recent days, hospital admissions remain high and government advisors say it would not be wise to relax the measures yet, given the emergence of the more infectious Omicron variant.

The press conference will be broadcast live on television and you can follow the proceedings via’s live tweeting service.

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