Letting go of the one-and-a-half-meter rule against the spread of the Coronavirus will be accompanied by greater use of proof of vaccinaiton or testing. In addition, the outgoing cabinet is once again considering asking citizens to contribute to rapid tests financially.
Translated by Mehret Haile Mariam
The cabinet aims to implement a new round of Coronavirus rule relaxations as of September 20. Neither the use of face masks on public transport nor working from home will be mandatory anymore. On the other hand, people planning on attending events hosting more than 75 people will be asked to provide proof of vaccination, recovery, or a negative test. It is not clear yet whether the group size might be decreased to 50 people instead of 75.
Financial contribution to rapid tests
As the government aspects, more people to get tested once the current measures are lifted Minister De Jonge (Public Health) called for citizens for a financial contribution to rapid tests. A similar suggestion, a personal contribution of 7,50 € to every Coronavirus test, proposed by De Jonge, was rejected by the House of Representatives in May. As of now, Coronavirus tests are still free of charge.
However, now that everyone willing can get vaccinated, the situation is different, argues De Jonge. Earlier this month, a majority in the House of Representatives voted in favor of his proposal. Moreover, the cabinet hopes that more (young) people will be encouraged to get vaccinated, considering its plan to ask for a financial contribution to the so-called “access tests”.
With 80,000 injections per week, the Netherlands is approaching a vaccination rate of 85 percent, meaning that about one and a half million adults are still unvaccinated. There is still a high number of unvaccinated people that, according to De Jonge, could cause 2,200 to 3,400 IC admissions as well as 16,000 and 32,000 hospital admissions.
In the meantime, there are still several uncertainties, such as the impacts the beginning of the new school year, the seasonal effect or the flu might have on the general situation. For this reason, the cabinet is hesitant to set a definitive deadline regarding the relaxations. For now, the deadline for the relaxations is September 20, a postponement, however, is still possible.
Similar considerations apply to November 1, which is when all measures are supposed to end, such as closing times for cafés, clubs’ closure, and the admission ticket policy. The press conference, scheduled for September 17, will likely be brought forward to Tuesday, 14.