Monday 18 October 2021

Museum and theatre closures on the cards as ministers discuss new coronavirus measures

Prime minister Mark Rutte arrives for the talks. Photo: Phil Nijhuis ANP

The Dutch government is considering closing museums, cinemas and theatres for two weeks, and reducing the maximum size of outdoor groups from four to two in a further drive to cut the number of coronavirus cases, sources in The Hague have told broadcaster NOS.

Ministers and health experts met until early evening on Sunday to assess the latest situation ahead of Tuesday’s news conference, when prime minister Mark Rutte and health minister Hugo de Jonge will give an update.

In particular, the ministers have promised to say more about the prospects for foreign travel during the Christmas break. The government’s health advisors on the Outbreak Management Taskforce are opposed to giving the green light to holidays abroad, particularly for winter sports because of the infection risk.

This weekend the number of newly registered coronavirus cases dipped below 10,000 and there are signs that the number of new hospital admissions are slowing as well. However, it is still too early to tell if the drop is significant and a reversal of the continual upward trend.

According to broadcaster NOS, nine ministers were at the talks at the prime minister’s official residence on Sunday afternoon.

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