Friday 26 February 2021

Coronavirus in the Netherlands: What you need to know (January 22)

Photo: DutchNews.nl

Prime minister Mark Rutte announced a raft of new measures to combat the spread of the more infectious variant of coronavirus first identified in Britain on Wednesday afternoon. Although the curfew plans still need the approval of parliament, here’s what you need to know.

New measures

Curfew
A curfew will be in operation from 9pm to 4.30am on Saturday evening and will run until the morning of February 10.

This means everyone will be required to stay home in the evening unless they have to be outside their home for work, are in urgent need of care or have to provide urgent care services, or to walk the dog.

Everyone who is outside after 9pm must fill in and carry a form explaining why they are outside or face a €95 fine.  Making a false declaration will be a criminal offence. Workers must carry a declaration signed by their employer, and this includes meal delivery workers. Forging a declaration will carry a higher sentence.

Education
The government’s top priority is to ensure primary schools at least can resume classroom teaching from February 8.

In the meantime, all daycare centres, primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities will continue with online education as before. Schools will also continue to offer support to vulnerable pupils and the children of essential workers.

Travel
All flights from Britain, South Africa and all of South America will be suspended until formal quarantine requirements have been introduced, which could be in four weeks time.

Everyone travelling to the Netherlands by boat or plane from a high risk area must have the results of a fast test taken no more than four hours before their journey with them, in addition to the PCR test. They will also have to go into quarantine for 10 days on their arrival, but will be able to take a test after five.

The current exceptions allowing in travellers from outside the EU – business travellers, students, highly skilled migrants, cultural and creative professionals and people in long-distance relationships – will end on Saturday. Journalists and close family members dealing with a life or death situation may still travel to the Netherlands.

The government continues to advise against all foreign travel up to and including March, unless there is a very compelling work or family reason.

For the official travel advice, see the government website.

Groups
The government now says households should have no more than one guest over the age of 13 at home in any 24 hour period. A maximum of two people from different households may meet outdoors.

Places of worship
Churches, mosques and synagogues remain open but the maximum size of a funeral is being cut from 100 to 50 mourners.

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