Wednesday 22 March 2023

New coronavirus measures ‘unlikely’ this week, Dutch media report

Anti-restriction campaigners are permanently outside parliament. Photo:

The cabinet is unlikely to announce new measures to stem the rise in coronavirus cases on Tuesday but will warn that ‘draconian measures’ are on the cards if people fail to stick to the rules, insiders say.

Ministers and health experts met on Sunday to discuss the latest developments after a total of 18,880 new coronavirus cases were reported to the public health institute RIVM this weekend.

On Friday, prime minister Mark Rutte said it was still too early to assess the impact of the partial lockdown introduced almost two weeks ago, but said that he is ruling out nothing in the government’s efforts to get the virus under control.

Additional measures could include a total lockdown and a curfew, insiders say.

In total, more than 280,000 people have tested positive for coronavirus since the pandemic struck and the first case was confirmed on February 27. Most of these have been in the past two months, when testing was expanded.

Experts hope the the number of new infections this week will begin to reduce, after a reaching a peak of over 10,000 cases a day on Friday. The weekend’s figures were complicated by computer problems and a clearer picture will only emerge on Tuesday, when the RIVM makes its weekly assessment.

Prime minister Mark Rutte and health minister Hugo de Jonge are expected to hold a press conference on Tuesday but this has not yet been confirmed.

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