Covid-19: worried, the Netherlands adopt a rigorous new plan to limit contacts

Return to teleworking advised, gatherings of more than 40 people prohibited, private sporting events for the public are among the measures announced by the Dutch authorities.

A little clueless about The rapid progression of the contaminations curve, the Dutch authorities adopted, Monday, September 28, a new package of anti-Covid measures which were to come into force on Tuesday at 6 p.m. and be assessed after three weeks.

Cafés and restaurants will have to close their doors again at 10 p.m., teleworking must be the norm unless it is impossible, contamination occurring in a workplace must result in a fourteen-day closure. In private, it will be forbidden to receive more than three people over the age of 13. Outside, gatherings of more than 40 people will be prohibited, indoors the limit will be 30 people. There will be no more spectators at the sporting events. Museums, libraries and shops will have to severely limit the number of visitors. Travel to Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague are not recommended.

In these three cities, shops may require masks to be worn. The issue of masks in public space has been the subject of intense discussion for weeks, with opponents and supporters of the obligation clashing as the government and health officials faltered. On Monday, Hugo De Jonge, the Minister of Health declared that he “believed” that such protection could help to stem the pandemic.

Critical situation

After measures announced Friday September 25 and deemed insufficient, because limited to a few large cities, hospitals had issued alarm signals: over the last seven days, more than 20,000 new contaminations have been recorded (there are more 114,000 in total), the number of deaths has also started to rise (over 6,400) and the number of hospitalizations is growing rapidly, leading to an overload of services, in Amsterdam in particular. The situation is considered critical in six provinces.

“We are doing our best, but the virus is doing even better” , explained Monday, Mr. De Jonge. Prime Minister Mark Rutte indicated for his part that the new decisions would have very negative economic consequences but had become inevitable. “The contaminations are developing so much that we risk running behind the virus” , he pointed out.