The Netherlands’ two biggest employers organisations have made a public appeal to get people to start keeping to the basic coronavirus rules again, because of fears that a new wave is imminent.
The number of positive coronavirus tests registered with public health institute RIVM rose 64% over the week to last Tuesday and a new update is due tomorrow.
‘Work from home if you have symptoms and ventilate properly – it is very important to do so now that the number of coronavirus infections in the Netherlands is rising and the holiday period still has to start,’ the VNO-NCW and MKB-Nederland said in a joint letter to their members.
Employers, already hit by major staff shortages, are concerned about losing more staff to coronavirus because of the rise in infections. They hope that by taking action now, it will be possible to avoid a lockdown in the autumn.
‘It might seem exaggerated but the more we work together to keep infections under control, the less likely it is that the virus will spread quickly and we will face new limitations,’ the statement said.
This is particularly important, they said, because the cabinet has made it clear that there will be no compensation for companies during short-term measures.
The organisations are also urging the government to make it ‘crystal clear’ what the scenarios are for dealing with a new wave and what criteria will be applied to them.
Companies are doing what they can with their own sector-wide plans, the organisations say. ‘But it cannot be the case that coronavirus becomes a risk for companies only and that they have to pay the price if there is a new surge and the government is too late to act.’
Health minister Ernst Kuipers told MPs earlier this month there is a ‘very real’ risk of millions of people becoming infected during the autumn, but that the government aimed to keep closures to a minimum.
Organisations in sectors such as education, retail and the travel industry should agree when to introduce measures such as social distancing, one-way systems and screens to reduce infection, the minister said.
Kuipers also said the government could abandon the sector-based strategy if the ‘black scenario’ of a large-scale outbreak occurred.
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