According to Mark Rutte, the ‘R-rate’ of the Coronavirus is far too high to loosen regulations
Translated by Thomas Ansell
Incoming/outgoing Dutch PM Mark Rutte held another Coronavirus press conference last night, and announced that due to worsening case numbers, there is ‘no room’ to loosen Coronavirus restrictions. As reported by the Omrop Fryslân. He then announced that the current regulations will remain until April 20 at least, although the curfew will be altered to a new time of 22:00-04:30 from March 31.
Rutte highlighted the current number of new daily infections, pressure on hospitals, and the ‘R-rate’. Yesterday there were 5,636 confirmed new cases in the Netherlands, 682 down on the day before but still more than 1,000 more than the daily rate in February.
The change in curfew hours has come about via the Veiligheidsberaad committee of Mayors from across the Netherlands, due to the longer days of spring.
“We hoped that we could find some small changes to make for before Easter”, said Rutte, “for example opening terraces, or partially opening higher education. But that was only if the R-rate settled below 1, and if hospital admissions stayed stable. Now we have to announce that that’s not been the case. Quite the reverse: infection numbers have risen, more Coronavirus patients are in hospitals, and the R-rate is clearly above 1.”
Negative travel advice
Rutte also added that the government’s negative travel advice would be extended until May 15, in line with rising infection numbers across Europe.
Demissionaire Minister of Health Hugo de Jonge (CDA) said that the Dutch vaccination campaign should quickly expand in the coming months. “By the middle of April we will have given out 4 million vaccines, including people over 80 and those with a high medical risk. At the start of May we will approach 5 million vaccinations, including people over 70, and then in mid-May people 60 plus will follow. At the beginning of June we project 11 million vaccines having been given out, and throughout June people 50, then 40, then 30 plus can be vaccinated. People in their twenties will follow at the end of June, or start of July.”