‘Rutte and De Jonge really need to make clear why curfew is necessary’

How effective can the setting of a curfew be in the fight against covid-19? And what is the inhibitory effect of such a measure once the British variant of the coronavirus is dominant in the Netherlands?

Experts say that the effect is very difficult to calculate as a whole series of other strict measures have already been taken. However, according to crisis expert Marco Zannoni, it is crucial to be very clear about this, should the demissionary cabinet announce tomorrow at the press conference to set such a curfew.

According to the director of the Institute for Security and Crisis Management, everything is about communication in such a far-reaching decision. And this is all the more emphatically the case at a time when the contamination rates are falling markedly, by 22.5% last week.

Flights from Great Britain

โ€œ So Rutte and de Jonge in such a case will have to make it very clear why the cabinet thinks this is necessary. That it is now moving in the right direction, but that the current package of measures in the new situation is insufficient. And there is something of an estimation of the contribution that curfew can make to the fight against a new wave of contamination.โ€

Especially since the Cabinet has been repeatedly reproach lately for taking too little action on this issue, Zannoni explains. Why were there so many flights from Britain at a time when you want to do everything you can to keep the British variant out of the door as much as possible? โ€œHere too, you will have to be very specific to convince people: containment of air traffic results in a way to speak only 0.1 effect. And the curfew puts much more sod to the dike.โ€

According to the crisis expert, communication is also listening closely on other points, if the Cabinet wants to take the country into account in this possible measure. โ€œAlso, for example, when it comes to exceptions. That must be a few very clear and not a whole list, which makes the matter unclear. These exceptions include, for example, people who really cannot miss out on social contact at the moment. You could use doctor‘s statements with that.โ€

Police State

โ€œ And you’ll have to convince people that this is a step with a clear endpoint and not a step towards a police state. That this decision is necessary to prevent worse: a real, complete lockdown in which no one is allowed to enter the streets at all. That he is not specifically directed against young people and their parties, but that it is to a broad measure that has the benefit of clarity. Namely, now the cabinet is only telling people to limit their social contacts; with a curfew, it is really enforceable.โ€

Nobody is waiting for a curfew, but it is a necessary evil, they say on the street in Utrecht:

Also very important in communication: explaining how the curfew looks concrete., Zannoni emphasises. โ€œNo roadblocks and not police everywhere. That there are still people on the streets, such as those in vital professions. And people walking their dogs or maybe running on their own. Describe how it looks concrete. Of course, you can be addressed when you come out on the street and you can get a sanction. But anyway, people will also want to see it maintained.โ€

Interestingly, Zannoni finds the role of the House of Representatives at the moment. โ€œTo date, it has been mainly behind the cabinet with the call for additional measures. Now several parties are wondering whether this is necessary. But I think the Chamber will also agree if the experts can make it very clear why it is necessary.โ€