It is not yet certain whether additional measures will be taken against the spread of the corona virus. Until the beginning of the evening, in the prime minister’s official residence, the Catshuis, the cabinet discussed the current approach and the possible effect of the partial lockdown that currently applies. “There was some relief about the declining figures, but it is still too early to say whether nothing extra is needed”, a source from The Hague told NOS.
The cabinet wants to provide clarity on Tuesday; then another press conference of Prime Minister Rutte and Minister De Jonge of Public Health is planned, in which something will also be said about traveling abroad.
Today, for the first time in some time, the number of new corona infections is considerably lower; 8,640 new cases, more than 1,000 fewer than Saturday. Last week it involved an average of 10,000 infections per day.
The catering industry was closed in mid-October, everyone was urged to wear a face mask in public spaces and to travel as little as possible. Also, households were only allowed to receive three people per day. Prime Minister Rutte expressed the hope that “the hammer is big enough to knock the virus down.”
But after this partial lockdown came into effect on Thursday, October 15, the number of new corona infections continued to rise sharply, to more than 10,000 per day. In the House of Representatives and elsewhere there was criticism that the cabinet was too cautious. Hospitals would therefore no longer be able to cope with care in the foreseeable future and may have to refuse patients.
Nevertheless, the cabinet did not take any additional measures. Prime Minister Rutte and Minister De Jonge emphasized time and again that it was still too early to draw the correct conclusions from the figures about the effects of the partial lockdown. At the earliest today or better early next week, it would be clear whether additional measures are needed. The prime minister also said a complete lockdown will have major economic and social consequences.
The Catshuis meeting lasted until approximately 7 p.m., which is longer than usual. The idea now exists that the number of infections has reached a ‘plateau’ and that a slight decrease is starting. Tomorrow and Tuesday, before the press conference, it will be examined whether the direction of today really continues.
Research is also being conducted into the effect of possible new measures. It can then be decided whether the current partial lockdown will indeed remain in force until December, as Minister De Jonge said last week.
Nine ministers were present at the meeting; except Rutte De Jonge of Public Health, Ollongren of the Interior, Schouten of Agriculture, Hoekstra of Finance, Great Tit of Social Affairs and Employment, Wiebes of Economic Affairs, Van Ark for Medical Care and Grapperhuis of Justice and Security. Minister of Education Slob is still in quarantine.