Wednesday 30 November 2022

Senate to block extending coronavirus law, legislation expires June 1

Senators debate the coronavirus legislation in their temporary chamber. Photo: Sem van der Waal ANP

As expected, the upper house of parliament, or senate, is still opposed to the government’s plan to extend the temporary coronavirus legislation and will vote against it on Tuesday evening, broadcaster NOS has reported.

This means that the cabinet will no longer have a legal basis to impose restrictions on movement or to require people to wear face masks or to social distance if coronavirus flares up again.

In total, 40 out of 75 senators said they would vote against extending the law for the fifth time because it is not necessary at the moment, NOS said. The coalition does not have a majority in the upper house of parliament.

The legislation requires extending every three months and is now due to expire on June 1.

Senators also say that the government should have begun reforming current public health legislation, which is due to replace the coronavirus legislation, earlier. The WPG laws are to be widened to include what measures the government can take in the case of a pandemic such as coronavirus.

Health minister Ernst Kuipers has said he will present the amendments to parliament before September 1, after which they will need to be approved by the upper and lower house.

In the meantime, the government will be able to bring in emergency legislation, should coronavirus infections rise sharply.

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