More coronavirus rules may go, despite rise in new infections: AD


Government health advisors on the Outbreak Management Team will meet at the end of this week to discuss lifting the final coronavirus restrictions in operation in the Netherlands.

The number of new coronavirus cases reached a three-week high at the weekend, following the Carnaval celebrations and the February half-term holidays and the number of new infections hit almost 67,000 in the 24 hours to Sunday morning. This took the weekly average to 53,500.

The relaxation of the rules in February, Carnaval and winter sports holidays are behind the rise, but the situation in hospitals is stable, with 1,368 people currently being treated in a general or IC ward.

One source in The Hague told the AD that if there is no real change in the figures this week, then a further relaxation of the rules – such as the recommendation to work 50% from home – is a real option.

However, face masks may still remain a requirement on public transport to protect the elderly and those who are vulnerable to infections, the source told the paper.

The only other main measure still in force is the compulsory negative test for admittance to an indoor event with 500 visitors or more.

No press conference

Health minister Ernst Kuipers will not give a press conference next Tuesday evening, but will probably make a short statement in the afternoon, the AD said.

Kuipers said earlier that the focus of the government’s approach to coronavirus is now one of ‘keeping society open’.

Work is also underway on new legislation which will replace the current temporary law giving the government the right to bring in ‘draconian’ laws such as curfews, the AD said.

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