Thursday 09 February 2023

Ministers discuss removing last coronavirus rules, OMT backs masks on public transport

Photo: Brandon Hartley

Government health advisors have recommended keeping face masks in public transport because they have added value in protecting people in vulnerable health from coronavirus, but have said it is up to ministers to decide if they should remain.

Masks ‘protect the vulnerable and allow them to use public transport responsibly,’ the OMT said in its latest advice for the government. For many people, public transport is not an free choice but the only option, the Outbreak Management Team said.

Ministers are due to decide on Tuesday whether or not to get rid of the remaining coronavirus rules.

According to broadcaster NOS, the cabinet does want to withdraw the recommendation to work part of the week at home, but the OMT believes this should still be stimulated.

The OMT also recommends that quarantine requirements remain in place.

The experts note that the number of coronavirus infections have gone up since the last restrictions were removed, and that the impact was strengthened by the Carnaval celebrations.

Hospital

‘We expect the number of hospital admissions to rise in the coming week and this again means a period of several weeks in which there is extra pressure on the healthcare system,’ the recommendations state.

There have been an average of 63,221 new infections a day over the past week, according to the government’s coronavirus dashboard. Some 1,769 people are currently being treated in hospital.

The OMT does, however, back dropping the negative test requirement to attend large events indoors, and the compulsory test for people arriving in the Netherlands from outside the EU.

Health minister Ernst Kuipers is expected to give a short update after the cabinet meeting is over.

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