Sunday 25 October 2020

Tougher coronavirus measures on their way as cases continue to top 6,000

Prime minister Mark Rutte arriving for the Sunday meeting. Photo: Robin van Lonkhuijsen ANP

The Dutch cabinet is set to introduce new measures to combat the spread of coronavirus on Tuesday, and these are likely to include more restrictions on movement, Dutch media report on Monday.

A number of ministers held five hours of informal talks with prime minister Mark Rutte at his official residence on Sunday and the government’s OMT coronavirus advisory team is meeting on Monday to discuss developments. The 25 regional safety boards will also meet in Utrecht with justice minister Ferd Grapperhaus on Monday evening.

The likelihood of new measures follows three days of successive 6,000 plus positive test figures, indicating the guidelines brought in 10 days ago have not yet had an impact.

So far there have been no leaks of what the new restrictions are likely to include, but insiders say an earlier closing time for cafes and bars, limits to socialising at home and a greater emphasis on working at home are likely to be on the cards.

The cabinet is keen to head off a second lockdown at all cost, NOS reporter Xander van der Wulp said.

Freedom to spread: why the Dutch are topping the infection charts

On Monday morning there were 1,233 coronavirus patients in hospital, of whom 247 were in intensive care. Both figures have been increasing slowly but steadily since infections began rising again.

On Saturday, Diederik Gommers, head of the country’s intensive care association, said the Netherlands needs to go back into lockdown as a matter of urgency to prevent hospitals becoming overloaded again.

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