Monday 26 October 2020

Dutch to announce new coronavirus measures on Monday evening

Mark Rutte arrives for informal talks on the coronavirus crisis on Sunday. Photo: Koen van Weel ANP

Prime minister Mark Rutte is holding a press conference on Monday evening to outline new measures to try to stop the spread of coronavirus, with a particular emphasis on the big cities of Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam.

Ministers met members of the government’s Outbreak Management Team to discuss the latest situation on Monday, after the number of new infections almost reached 3,000 on Sunday.

Sources close to the cabinet told the AD that ‘no half measures’ will be taken but that the cabinet is keen not to put the whole country into lockdown again. But some experts have been highly critical of the government’s regional approach, arguing the Netherlands is too small to single out specific areas for tougher rules.

‘We have to ask if the Netherlands is big enough for all sorts of regional measures,’ Hubert Bruls, chairman of the regional safety board association, told the AD. ‘We have to be careful we don’t create confusion with too many separate measures. We benefit from rules which everyone can understand.’

According to research by broadcaster RTL, Amsterdam and The Hague are now in the top 10 coronavirus hot spots in Europe, with the most positive coronavirus cases per head of the population.

The list is headed by Paris, with 231 cases per 100,000 people, but greater Amsterdam is in sixth place with 194 cases per 100,000.

In total, 14 of the 25 Dutch regional safety boards are now in special measures, which means bars and cafes have to close their doors at midnight, and numbers are limited to 50 people.

The regions have also been given powers to impose their own measures but most have opted for little more than pledging to better enforce the regulations already in place.

The press conference will be broadcast live on television at 7pm. DutchNews.nl will be covering the event via Twitter.

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