Wednesday 21 April 2021

Ministers set to extend curfew again, as coronavirus infections remain high

Mark Rutte and Hugo de Jonge arriving for Saturday’s cabinet meeting. Photo: Phil Nijhuis ANP

Ministers will not announce any new relaxation of the coronavirus rules at Monday’s press conference but will clear the way for changes in three weeks time, insiders have told broadcaster NOS.

This means the curfew will extended to the end of the month, NOS said. Ministers met on Saturday to discuss the latest situation.

Government advisors have told the public broadcaster that the current infection rate is still too high to allow further changes, following the opening of secondary schools and allowing shops to welcome customers by appointment at the beginning on March.

On Saturday, 5,378 new positive tests were registered with the public health institute RIVM. The number of positive tests has hovered between 4,000 and 5,000 for days.

However, minister are expected to open the door to changes at the end of the month, if the infection rate declines. This could mean limited opening of café terraces and physical lessons at hbo colleges and universities, NOS said. The AD suggests terraces could reopen for the Easter weekend.

According to RTL, however, minor changes, such as allowing more people to take part in group sports outdoors and giving bigger non-essential shops the right to have more customers may be introduced from next week.The AD and NOS both say this will happen at the end of the month.

Vaccinations

The NOS sources say ministers will also look at the option of giving people who have been vaccinated or who have negative fast test to have ‘more freedom’, although they are keen not to give rise to suggestions people are being forced to have vaccinations against their will.

Ministers have already agreed that people working on the election, such as vote counters and polling station volunteers, will be exempt from the curfew on March  15, 16 and 17 during the general election.

DutchNews.nl will report on the press conference live via Twitter.

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