Saturday 24 October 2020

Wear a mask if you want to, says Dutch prime minister

Photo: Depositphotos.com

There is nothing to stop people wearing face masks if they want to but there are risks attached if they use them wrongly, prime minister Mark Rutte said at his weekly press conference on Friday.

Pressure has been mounting on the Dutch government to make the use of masks compulsory in confined spaces, but so far officials insist that their use should be confined to medical staff.

The government’s advisory team is currently assessing the situation and will make recommendations to the cabinet next week, Rutte said.

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‘What we are talking about now is what can face masks mean for people who have physical contact with people while doing their jobs such as hairdressers, and on public transport,’ Rutte said in answer to reporters’ questions.

All over the world people have different views on the use of masks, Rutte said. ‘Everyone can do what they like, this is a free country,’ he said. ‘But there are risks and if you use them incorrectly, they can actually help spread the virus.’

Masks can contribute to solving the coronavirus situation but they are not the sole solution, the prime minister said.

The cabinet’s crisis team will hold talks next Wednesday and more news on the role masks may play in lifting the Dutch lockdown is likely then, insiders say.

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