The Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte announced that our lockdown would be extended for three weeks (nltimes.nl, in English), moving the end date from 19 January to 9 February. Lockdown in the Netherlands means that all non-essential stores are closed, restaurants and cafés are closed, ‘through traffic’ places like libraries, museums, and amusement parks are closed.
Schools have switched to online education as well, although some students are allowed at school if they are deemed “vulnerable” or need to prepare for exams. Secondary education schools (students 12 and older) who are in the classroom are now required to adhere to the 1.5 meters distance rule in all situations. Previously secondary education students did not have to keep distance with each other, only their teacher.
The government considered implementing a curfew, however they have decided to consult with the Outbreak Management Team first before taking that step. It could still happen, but I think the government is trying to gauge public reaction before going there, because it could backfire.
The news is not all bad, though. Here is a look at the number of corona cases (the red line is the 7 day average):
We had about 5,000 cases today, 500 less than yesterday. But, the decline is too slow and the hospital and ICU intakes are not showing that much of a decline. The threat of the British variant of the coronavirus also looms. During the press conference the Minister of Health said there were about 100 recorded cases of that variant, with about half of them in the township of Lansingerland, not that far from The Hague. The township is currently working on testing all of its residents over two years of age–the first area in the Netherlands to do so (article in Dutch at nos.nl).
And really, there was a time back in early October when we were panicking because we hit 5,000 cases, so why should we accept 5,000 cases as a good thing now? Let’s just hope the downward trend continues.