The curfew was introduced, extended, banned, restored in less than a month – and now has become indispensable to the outgoing cabinet. This aims to extend the curfew after March 2 for another three weeks, thus creating the necessary space to relax elsewhere.
This exchange is the outcome of Sunday’s Catshuis Consultation. Article link https://www.news1.news/news/2021/02/curfew-extended-by-3-weeks-secondary-schools-partly-open.html
The cabinet wants to reopen some of the secondary schools from Monday 1 March, although it is not certain exactly what that will look like. Article link https://www.news1.news/news/2021/02/curfew-extended-by-3-weeks-secondary-schools-partly-open.html
The cabinet also has options in store for MBOs and contact professions, such as hairdressers, so that they can be partially reopened at the beginning of March. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Rutte (VVD) and Minister De Jonge (Public Health, CDA) will give a press conference about the final plans.
Curfew has become a pillar of the fight against viruses. “Article link https://www.news1.news/news/2021/02/curfew-extended-by-3-weeks-secondary-schools-partly-open.html
The first measure that you do not want to continue, which is at the top to be scrapped, is that curfew,” said Rutte in January, when it was announced. At the beginning of February, the cabinet had already decided internally to scrap the measure, until new figures on the risks of a third wave and the British virus mutation led to a change of course at the last minute.
And last week the end of the curfew seemed near again, when the Hague preliminary relief judge banned the curfew. An emergency roll call and a reparation bill were called in to save curfew.
Attention to social damage
Now that same curfew must serve as a tool to reopen society. Article link https://www.news1.news/news/2021/02/curfew-extended-by-3-weeks-secondary-schools-partly-open.html
The cabinet says that the measure has the desired effect, although the insight into the figures remains unclear.
But that’s not the only reason for sticking to curfew. It is also an attempt to respond to society: the call for perspective, the shrinking support for the gravity of the lockdown, and the growing attention for the social damage caused by the fight against viruses.
This concern is not new. Already during the first lockdown, psychologists, youth workers and other professional groups expressed their concerns about the social disruption that the fight against corona entailed. That fear is now concrete: the learning disadvantages can be summarized in figures, the fear of depressive and suicidal complaints has become reality, among young and old.
On the other hand, there is a long battle against the virus. There may be vaccines – the millionth injection was taken on Sunday – scientists are increasingly taking into account a long-term disruption. This realization has also penetrated Article link https://www.news1.news/news/2021/02/curfew-extended-by-3-weeks-secondary-schools-partly-open.html
The cabinet, says one involved, feels compelled to switch ‘from the acute to the chronic phase’ of the fight against corona, with more attention to social damage.
SCP critical of cabinet policy
This attention to social effects is desperately needed, says Kim Putters in an interview with NRC. Article link https://www.news1.news/news/2021/02/curfew-extended-by-3-weeks-secondary-schools-partly-open.html
The director of the Social and Cultural Planning Office (SCP) is one of the cabinet’s most important advisers. Putters: “Politicians must weigh up: do you see the contamination as more important than the other consequences?”
In a letter to the outgoing cabinet, he and his colleagues from the Central Planning Bureau (CPB) and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) ask to come up with a ‘recovery plan’ for the Netherlands after the crisis. “There is no time to waste,” said that letter.
Also read the interview with Kim Putters (SCP):‘We are not all clapping for Rutte in the Netherlands’
“I can see that the stretch is getting out socially,” says Putters NRC. According to him, the school closure is the toughest corona measure, in addition to the rule that you can only receive one person at home. “That’s why I started to talk about government differently. Now I call it ‘the state’. He decides: you may not receive your father and your mother. It feels like the state is sitting at my kitchen table. ”
Putters is also critical of the special corona chant appointed by the cabinet: “They have to do it themselves. Article link https://www.news1.news/news/2021/02/curfew-extended-by-3-weeks-secondary-schools-partly-open.html
The government doesn’t fight virus, the government rules. Politics must return to normal. ”
Interview Kim Putters page 10-11
A version of this article also appeared in nrc.next of February 22, 2021
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