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Netherlands: Rutte’s new government expected to ease lockdown

The new government of Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte is expected to ease the lockdown measures for COVID-19 that have been in force for a month now as fewer and fewer citizens support them despite pressure on hospitals and record numbers of new infections.

According to the national NOS network, citing government sources, most shops, hairdressers and gyms will be allowed to reopen. Restaurants are expected to remain closed and offer only takeaway services.

Rutte, whose cabinet took office on Monday, is expected to deliver a televised address to the Dutch people at 8pm Greek time.

His caretaker government imposed a lockdown in mid-December as the surge in the Delta strain caused health units to delay dealing with emergencies and it appeared that the growing Omicron cases would overwhelm the health care system.

Infections continued to rise despite the lockdown, which called for a ban on all public gatherings, with a record number of more than 200,000 cases a week through January 11, according to the Dutch Institute for Health (RIVM). However, hospitalizations were reduced marginally.

A Hart van Nederland poll published today showed that 89% of citizens are in favor of reopening shops and the majority in favor of reopening restaurants and cultural venues.

Over 86% of adults in the Netherlands are fully vaccinated and almost 50% have received a booster dose.

Among the changes expected today, new Health Secretary Ernst Coopers is expected to reduce the mandatory quarantine period for someone who has been exposed to the virus but has not become infected.

Primary schools opened on January 10 after winter breaks that were longer than originally planned, but classrooms often close when students or teachers are exposed to the virus. Coopers may also request that the use of the mask be extended. Compliance with the rules, such as their use in supermarkets, is flawed.

Source: AMPE


Source From: Capital

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