Coronavirus cases in Netherlands up by 8,300 in 24 hours: Stricter measures being considered by PM Mark Rutte

The number of new coronavirus infections in the Netherlands rose by nearly 8,300 over the past 24 hours, the slowest pace in roughly two weeks, data released by the National Institute for Public Health (RIVM) on Monday showed.

The RIVM said the number of confirmed new cases of COVID-19 was 8,286, compared to a record high of 11,119 on Oct. 30. The number is being closely watched by the Dutch government, which is expected to announce tighter curbs on Tuesday.

The second coronavirus wave
The semi-lockdown which was announced on October 13 was initially expected to last only four weeks, with Rutte and De Jonge stating they would reevaluate the situation following a two week period. However, speaking at the last press conference on October 27, both stated it was too early to be sure if the measures had been effective in limiting the spread of the virus, and extended the current measures until at least the beginning of December.

Rutte has come under fire from politicians for taking too relaxed an approach and waiting too long to take action. On Sunday, the number of new coronavirus infections reported was “only” 8.740 – over 1.000 fewer than on Saturday. While many think this indicates that the number of daily infections has plateaued – i.e. that the peak has been reached – it seems that the cabinet is keen not to get too hopeful and to proceed with caution.

News that the Netherlands could be headed into another lockdown isn’t particularly surprising, seeing as a number of countries across Europe have enforced stricter coronavirus measures following a rise in the number of cases. On Sunday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a national lockdown for England from Thursday, November 5, while France went into lockdown on October 30 and Germany went into lockdown on Monday morning.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his fellow cabinet ministers are considering potential coronavirus measures that will likely be announced at a press conference on Tuesday, November 3 that would place the Netherlands under a stricter lockdown.

Stricter coronavirus measures: Lockdown in the Netherlands?
While catering establishments across the country have been closed since October 14, Rutte is considering taking this so-called semi-lockdown one step further. At a meeting at his official residence in The Hague on Sunday, he and members of the Dutch cabinet discussed closing theme parks, museums, cinemas and theatres for two weeks from Thursday, November 5.

Alongside the forced closure of entertainment and cultural institutions, it’s possible that the current rule stipulating that a maximum of four people (from different households) can be out in public together will be adjusted and reduced to two people.

Rutte and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge will announce any new measures at a press conference on Tuesday, They are also expected to address the topic of international travel this festive period, which has already been discouraged by the Outbreak Management Team.