New corona measures were introduced by the Dutch government yesterday as COVID-19 hospital admissions increased by over 30% last week.
By Mehret Haile-Mariam
An increase in positive COVID-19 test in all regions and age groups and increasing hospital admissions have led Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge to announce new coronavirus measures at the conference yesterday evening.
The press conference was scheduled for later this week. However, it was brought forward after medical experts and hospital administrations voiced concern about an approaching coronavirus wave in the autumn in the last weeks. To prevent the Dutch healthcare system from collapsing as the number of COVID-19 patients in ICUs increase continually, face masks, home office, and the use of the coronavirus pass are strongly recommended.
Face masks mandatory in public spaces
From November 6, face masks will be mandatory again in all indoor public spaces where coronavirus entry passes are not required, including:
- supermarkets, shops, libraries;
gaming venues, amusement parks etc.;
- public transportation, at
stations, on platforms;
- at airports and on aircraft;
- universities and higher
education institutions (MBO, HBO). You can take them off when seated.
People working in contact-based professions (e.g., hairdressers) will be required to wear a mask. Anyone who does not follow these rules can be fined 95€.
Working from home is strongly encouraged. As of November 3, anyone capable to work from home is asked to stay home at least half of the regular working hours.
Coronavirus entry pass
The coronavirus entry pass will be mandatory in more places from November 6 onwards as the entry pass system aims to reduce the likelihood of the virus circulating at these locations. Therefore, anyone visiting one of the following places is obliged to show a QR code and a valid form of ID:
- restaurants, bars, and nightclubs (both indoors and outdoors);
- gyms and swimming pools;
- zoos, museums, theme parks;
- cinemas, theatres, and concert
- all events (including professional/amateur sporting events)
Activities organised for children aged under 18 are exempt from this regulation.
Booster shots for elderly
From December onwards, booster vaccinations for anyone aged 80 and above will be offered. The same goes for adult residents at care institutions that own medical services. However, from January, people aged between 60 and 80 will be invited for a booster shot.
Citizens are strongly advised to follow basic rules such as keeping 1.5. metres of distance wherever possible, refrain from shaking hands, ensuring a good fresh air flow indoors, and regular testing.
A follow-up press conference is scheduled to take place on/after November 12.