Thursday 20 January 2022

Dutch delay shift to 2G, citing Omicron uncertainties and lack of support

Photo: DutchNews.nl

The Dutch government has decided to delay plans to exclude people who have not been vaccinated against coronavirus from cafes, bars and concerts because of a lack of political support.

In addition, the plan to extend use of the coronavirus pass to more sectors has also been put on the back burner, health minister Hugo de Jonge has told MPs in a briefing.

The current epidemiological situation and the uncertainties surrounding the Omicron variant are having an impact on political support for the measures, De Jonge said.

‘Nevertheless, the cabinet is committed to including 2G… because without it, high risk sectors such as (parts of) the hospitality industry, culture and events, will have to remain closed for longer than necessary,’ he said. 

MPs were supposed to debate extending the use of 3G coronavirus passes to some work situations and to the education sector this week, as well as moving to a 2G system for bars, concerts and festivals.

The 2G system involves restricting entry to people who have either been fully vaccinated or have recently recovered from coronavirus. But with only the VVD and D66 in favour, the plans were likely to face defeat in parliament, prompting ministers to delay the move.

Critics argue that a shift to 2G would further exacerbate divisions between people who have been vaccinated and the 1.5 million who have not.

Infections

The government’s own health advisors, however, say the 2G system could halve the number of infections and reduce new hospital admissions by 80%, broadcaster NOS reported. Some 23,000 new cases a day are being reported at present.

Ministers now hope to process the draft legislation in the week after the Christmas recess.

Meanwhile, ministers will decide on December 14 what measures should be in place in the Netherlands from December 19, De Jonge said.

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