After another day of crisis consultation in various configurations, the cabinet has not come to a conclusion. It was hardly a point of contention that ‘something extra’ had to be done on top of the existing lockdown. It was mainly concerns about the British variant that would underline this need.
According to estimates by the Outbreak Management Team (OMT), about 10 percent of the infections are currently caused by the usurious mutant, which is about 30 percent more contagious. According to the crisis response advisory body, there are actually now two epidemics, spreading across the country at different speeds, one from the old coronavirus and one from the UK. ‘In the course of February’, half the number of infections will be from the British variant.
The Netherlands must ‘brace’ itself for the British variant, say those involved. With the wish to reopen schools soon, stricter measures are now needed, or so the idea is. “Maybe it should even be ‘and-and’ and curfew alone is not enough,” says a source from The Hague.
“It is really very worrying,” said Minister Grapperhaus (Justice and Security) between the corona consultations. Previously he was against curfew, now he has become convinced that something must be done. “The toolbox is slowly starting to run out.”
The minister has the formal authority to impose such a ‘curfew’ himself, but he does not want to do so without the support of the Lower House.
The coalition is divided, says a person concerned after consultation between VVD, CDA, D66 and CU on Monday morning. In any case, D66 continues to oppose the measure, as do opposition parties such as PVV, GL and SGP. Behind the scenes it can be heard that the emergency advice from the OMT about the effect of the drug can still play a role in the decision. But the advice, which was expected on Monday, is not yet there. One person involved in cabinet policy calls the state of affairs ‘messy’.
Monday evening’s security meeting, with the mayors of the 25 security regions and Minister Grapperhaus, was called off and moved to Tuesday. Mayors fear that additional police deployment will be required and that fear is shared by the officers themselves. The cabinet will postpone the decision about the curfew or alternatives to Wednesday.
It is equally clear that the cabinet is increasingly pushing for ‘house arrest’ from eight in the evening to four at night, although the times can still be varied. Violating a possible curfew will incur a fine of 95 euros. A note on the criminal record is therefore not made.
The OMT has also been asked to look at alternatives, such as further limiting visits (from two to one), prohibiting gatherings outside (now a maximum of 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 banning travel from the United Kingdom. One person concerned sighs: “The alternatives are not necessarily more attractive.”
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Source: De Telegraaf by www.telegraaf.nl.
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