The cabinet wants to implement a curfew, but not without sufficient support from the House of Representatives. This has resulted in a stalemate, because the support requested has not yet been there. Nor is there the OMT opinion that was supposed to help the Cabinet in the choice. The alternatives, such as the further reduction of visits and a no-fly from the United Kingdom, are back on the table. A stacked package of stricter measures is also possible.
After another day of crisis deliberation in different compositions, the Cabinet did not come out. The fact that something extra has to be done on top of the existing lockdown was hardly a point of contention. It was mainly concerned about the British variant that would underline this necessity.
According to estimates by the Outbreak Management Team (OMT), about 10 percent of the infections are currently accounted for by the usury mutant, which is about 30 percent more contagious. According to the advisory body on the crisis approach, there are currently two epidemics spreading across the country at different speeds, one from the old corona virus and one from the British. ‘In the course of February’, half of the number of infections of the British variant will be be.
The Netherlands must ‘brace’ for the British variant, say those involved. With the desire to reopen the schools later, more stringent measures are now needed, so is the idea. “Maybe it should even be ‘and-and’ and the curfew alone is not enough”, says a source of The Hague.
“It‘s really very worrying,” said Minister Grapperhaus (Justice and Security) between the corona-talks through. Previously, he was against curfew, now he’s convinced that something needs to be done. “The toolbox is gradually starting to empty.”
The principal has formally the authority to impose such a ‘curfew time’ on his own, but he does not want to do so without the support of the House of Representatives.
The coalition is divided, tells a person concerned after consultation between VVD, CDA, D66 and CU on Monday morning.
In any case, D66 continues to oppose the measure, just as opposition parties such as PVV, GL and SGP. Behind the scenes it can be heard that the urgent advice of the OMT on the effect of the drug can still be taken into consideration. But the advice, which was expected on Monday, is not there yet. A person involved in the cabinet policy calls the course of events ‘messed’.
The security council on Monday evening, with the mayors of the 25 security regions and Minister Grapperhaus, was cancelled and moved to Tuesday. Mayors fear that additional police commitment will be needed, and that fear will be shared by the agents themselves. The Cabinet is pushing the decision on curfew or alternatives to Wednesday.
It is equally clear that the cabinet is increasingly pushing for ‘house arrest’ from eight o‘clock in the evening to four o’clock in the morning, although there can still be varied with the times. The violation of a possible curfew will be fined 95 euro. A note on the criminal record is therefore out of place.
The OMT has been asked to look at alternatives, such as further restricting visitors (from two to one), banning meetings outside (now up to two) or limiting areas within which people are allowed to move. At the insistence of the House of Representatives, the Cabinet is also seriously considering prohibiting travel from the United Kingdom. One person sighs: “The alternatives are not necessarily more attractive.”