Cabinet locks down land and thus takes ‘consciously a risk’

Towering infections that โ€œgo through the roofโ€ and still relax, causing even more infections. The cabinet knows this, chooses it anyway, and acknowledges that the relaxations announced tonight are not without risk. โ€œWe are consciously seeking the limits of the possible,โ€ said Prime Minister Rutte. Because there has been โ€œwell listened to all the complaints and tensions in society over the past few weeksโ€.

โ€œBehind all the understandable cries for help, actions and emotion are such major problems and tensions,โ€ Rutte said:

That great social displeasure was expressed in protests, demonstrations and sometimes violence against police and other services. According to the National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg, the displeasure has never been so extensive. In a piece that was sent yesterday together with the OMT advice to the House of Representatives, Aalbersberg says he is โ€œvery worriedโ€.

The fact that the cabinet wants to do something about social displeasure is evident, among other things, from the fact that a bigger step is being made than the Outbreak Management Team (OMT) advises. According to Minister Kuipers, the advice was to close hospitality, culture, museums, zoos and amusement parks at 5 p.m., and possibly to stretch that to 8 pm.

But the cabinet opts for one closing time: 10 pm.

For the cabinet, it is established that the country โ€œkeep locked even longerโ€ can no longer. Living even longer with many restrictive measures โ€œdamages our health and our society,โ€ said Kuipers. โ€œSo were taking a risk, but for good reason.โ€

Rutte also emphasizes that risk. โ€œAnd it may be that our yo-yo policy will be reproached afterwards because we still have to reverse things afterwards.โ€ He says he doesnt hope for that. To prevent that, he reiterates that it is especially important that everyone complies with the basic measures and adheres to the rules in force.

One thing is certain: in three weeks, infections will be still โ€œmany timesโ€ higher. Kuipers: โ€œOmikron is really not a flu. If there are so many infections, many people can still get into the hospitalโ€.

The pressure on health care can thus increase again, explains Minister Kuipers:

How does the Minister of Health look at WHOs optimism that corona may be moving in Europe โ€œtowards a pandemic endgameโ€? Kuipers is still far too early to speak of that. There is still far too much uncertain. โ€œEverything depends on possible new variants, and how sickening they are.โ€

That is why not everything can open at the same time, says the cabinet. Opening nightclubs and nightlife is really not going right now, says Rutte. And the work-from-home advice and the maximum number of home guests of four will remain for the time being, even if you would โ€œlove to be differentโ€.

Nevertheless, Rutte does not consider the criticism that the Netherlands has the toughest package. He understands that some people experience this way, but in other countries, there is, for example, the much heavier 2G policy, he emphasizes.

Kuipers stressed that corona access tickets can be effective:

Whether that 2G policy will still come from it in the Netherlands in the long term is only the question. VVD and D66 and the cabinet still want to keep the option to enter it open. But because of the imminent dichotomy in society and studies that doubt its usefulness by the highly contagious omikron, a majority in the House does not see anything in it for the time being. The QR code with 3G, where you either have to test or have been vaccinated or recovered, will remain in effect in the coming period.

The new rules will start at 5am tomorrow morning and apply until 8 March, with a new weighing moment in three weeks.