The Netherlands abandons face masks on public transport from Wednesday, as recorded coronavirus cases continue to fall.
Mask are no longer a requirement in taxis or on ferries but do remain required at airports and on planes, even though several Dutch airlines have said they will no longer enforce the measure.
People attending an indoor event of more than 500 people will also no longer have to show a negative coronavirus test result for entry – although the CoronaCheck app will still remain a requirement for foreign travel.
Travellers to the Netherlands from the EU and Schengen countries will no longer have to prove they have been vaccinated or test negative for coronavirus to enter the Netherlands either, but will have to fill in a health declaration. Non-vaccinated people from outside the EU still face restrictions.
The government’s recommendations on quarantine and self isolation remain.
The number of reported new coronavirus cases fell by 27% last week, with the difference reflected across all age groups, the public health institute RIVM said in its weekly round-up. On average almost 45,000 positive cases were reported per day in the week to Tuesday morning.
There was also a 7% decrease in the number of patients admitted to hospital with coronavirus although intensive care admissions were up 15%.
In total, regional health boards processed over 450,000 tests, of which around half were to confirm a positive self test. Around 94% of positive self tests are found to be coronavirus, but just over a third of people reporting directly to a health testing centre were positive.
Meanwhile, the Telegraaf reports that the number of people over the age of 70 making an appointment for a second booster is ‘disappointing’.
Since the beginning of March, people over the age of 70 can have a second booster but so far only around one in five have done so.
Although this is partly due to the fact that people have to wait three months since their previous booster or coronavirus infection, only 64% of those who are now eligible have actually had a fourth vaccination, the paper said.
‘We hope this increases,’ a spokesman for the health ministry told the paper. ‘It is extremely important, now that the measures to control the spread of coronavirus have been suspended and the number of infections remains high.’
Experts warn in Wednesday’s Financieele Dagblad that coronavirus has not gone and may well flare up again in the autumn.
‘There is an idea that Covid is now like a slight cold, but that is not the case,’ said virologist and government advisor Marion Koopmans.
‘The situation is manageable at the moment, but that is thanks to the high vaccination rate among people who run most risk of becoming seriously ill.’
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