It was “Two fantastic weeks, but at what cost …”, lamented, Saturday July 10, the daily The watchword, summarizing the general feeling of the Dutch. The night before, making his reappearance on all screens, the Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, had announced new restrictions due to the outbreak of new Covid-19 contaminations: 22,000 in one week, 10,306 identified for the only Friday day. The highest number since December 25, 2020, marking a 900% increase in the space of a week. The country is therefore again colored red on the world map.
Until August 14, cafes will have to close at midnight and impose seating, as well as respect for physical distancing. Discos and nightclubs were to close their doors on Monday, July 12. Events spread over several days are prohibited. Sporting events, cultural performances and activities for young people will benefit from a tolerance, provided that all participants are seated and subject to physical distancing. Museums will remain open but also subject to limitations. Finally, negative PCR tests will now have a validity of twenty-four hours, instead of forty.
Gathered urgently, the government adopted these few measures, hoping, without certainty, that they will be enough to stem what strongly resembles a fourth wave. “Nobody can say what will await us in a month, nobody”, insists the Minister of Health, Hugo de Jonge.
They too, the deputies of the Second Chamber will meet on Wednesday July 14 to discuss a situation which has suddenly deteriorated. A new press conference by the Prime Minister could be organized the next day.
Increased reproduction rate
In the country, the return to normal life decreed on June 26 had been celebrated in euphoria: crowded terraces, gatherings, night parties, end of wearing masks in the street. Only the rule of 1.5 meters of physical distance was still in force (but very little respected), as well as the wearing of the mask in public transport.
The new contaminations mainly concern the youngest. Hundreds of cases have been identified after a night out in Enschede, in the province of Overijssel, and clusters have appeared in many cafes across the country. What to wonder about the measures adopted by the authorities which imposed the test at the entry of the establishments but without organizing the controls. In addition, many young people seem to have provided false results.
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