Tonight’s press conference marks six months since the coronavirus crisis truly began in the Netherlands. Prime Minister Rutte took the time to remind Dutchies how far we’ve come since then.
There were no major new measures announced this evening. Clubs and discos will remain closed until further notice, as expected. “Although that is certainly bad news for those industries, the risk of infection is just too great,” Rutte explained.
The Prime Minister also was clear on the fact that everyone is free to question and criticise the measures the cabinet takes. He emphasised that the cabinet is not only listening to the OMT, but also to industry representatives and ordinary people. He and the Minister for Health, Hugo de Jonge, will be holding an online session where people can ask questions and freely criticise the measures in place.
Overall, though, the tone of the press conference was cautiously optimistic. Rutte complimented Dutch people on the good job they had done in (so far) avoiding a second wave. For the first time in a while, the reproduction number of the virus is below one, meaning that each person who is infected infects less than one other person, on average. The number of infections has stayed pretty stable for the last few weeks, after a sharp increase in early August.
Rutte remarked that in comparison to other countries around the world, everyday life has resumed quite quickly in the Netherlands. “Now, after a week of working or studying, you can– with a few extra rules– go for a beer on a terrace, or have dinner with friends, or go to the cinema in the weekends,” he said. “Focus on what is possible here, because it is quite a lot. But we need to stay alert.”
Minister de Jonge then took over, and gave a run down of the more technical aspects of the last few weeks. He noted that the GGDs and testing laboratories are under pressure because of the high demand for tests. “Only get tested if you have symptoms,” he emphasised. He said that extra pressure is expected on testing facilities over the coming months, as more people have cold symptoms during winter. Labs are being expanded, and the Netherlands has also signed contracts with two German laboratories to alleviate the pressure.
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Feature Image: Press Conference/DutchReview