A “struggle”, “extremely complex” and “I made mistakes”. Gloomy words from outgoing Prime Minister Rutte in the press conference on the new stringent corona measures tonight. And that was also true for Minister De Jonge of Health. “Reality is less feasible than I thought.”
Rutte started the press conference with a reminder of a coronavirus conference a year ago, in November 2020, where there was a temporary lockdown, there was no vaccine yet, but optimism sounded. Rutte said at the time: “The trend is falling and that is positive” and “The figures show that the measures are working”.
Poking out of the pandemic
Now about 85 percent of the number of Dutch people have been vaccinated, but there has to be a lot of lockdown again. After the summer, many basic rules were relaxed, the one-and-a-half meter rule was released. “Then we thought that most strict rules would be over, but the reality is different,” Rutte says now. “We had the thought that we could propel ourselves out of the pandemic. That didn‘t turn out to be the case.”
Read about the stricter corona rules from Sunday here:
was little view in this press conference, it is far from certain that it can be relaxed in three weeks. Rutte does not want to guarantee a “regular Christmas” either.
The outgoing cabinet hopes that the new measures will have a quick effect. The intention is that the number of infections will go down by about 20 or more percent. “But if that works out, we don’t know”, Minister De Jonge of Health hasten to say. “Please let‘s be careful. It’s not that feasible.” For him, one thing is now also fixed: “The virus remains among us.” The only bright spot may be the booster shot, which is now almost made with.
The problems are due, among other things, to the poor predictability of the development of the virus. More and more people have been vaccinated and that makes it extra difficult for the computers of the RIVM.
The vaccines also work less well than expected. So maybe the pandemic will last until the end of winter. Now 1.2 million Dutch people are still unvaccinated, but they should be protected at some point if they were ill.
“I am blaming.”
Rutte also thinks he made mistakes. “I‘m blaming. I’m not deaf to criticism.” When easing the measures at the end of the summer, he should have said much more clearly that the basic measures should not be thrown overboard, he says. He‘s making excuse for it. “We should have explained better.”
Rutte about the mistakes he made:
The outgoing cabinet hopes that unvaccinated people now really realize what their decision has for social consequences. In the press conference, Rutte and De Jonge repeatedly made an emphatic call. “This affects us all. It’s not everyone for itself,” says De Jonge. Rutte also asks citizens to pay close attention to each other. “Ask each other: how are you?”
In the week of December 14, there will be a new moment to see if there can be relaxed again. But the message from Rutte and De Jonge is clear: no predictions for now.