Coronavirus measures will be extended
The number of coronavirus infections is still increasing, as is the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units (ICUs). The third wave is becoming apparent, so the measures currently in place are going to be extended. There will be one minor adjustment: as of 31 March the curfew will start one hour later, at 22.00 instead of at 21.00. The government is also looking to see how self-testing could be used in education. The aim is to enable students in higher education (HBO institutions and universities) to attend in-person classes one day per week, from 26 April at the earliest.
Read this news item in Dutch on Rijksoverheid.nl.
Current measures extended
All current coronavirus measures will continue to apply up to and including Tuesday 20 April.
At the next press conference on 13 April the government will announce what will be possible after 20 April. If the figures show a positive trend, earlier adjustments to one or more measures may be possible. But if the figures take a turn for the worse, measures may also be tightened up faster.
The advice not to travel abroad will apply up to and including Saturday 15 May.
Stay in the Netherlands. Do not travel abroad, unless it is absolutely essential. This also applies to the May holidays.
In April the government and the travel and passenger transport industries will start pilot projects involving trips abroad, which should give insight into how we will be able to holiday abroad safely and responsibly in the future.
Minor adjustment to one measure
The days are getting longer again, so the curfew will start an hour later as of Wednesday 31 March. From that date, everyone has to stay inside between 22.00 and 04.30. Shops that mainly sell groceries, like supermarkets, and establishments selling food and drinks for takeaway will be allowed to stay open until 21.45.
Coronavirus self-test kits will probably be available from the middle of April. They can be used in education for risk-based and preventive testing. The government wants higher education students to be able to attend in-person classes again without delay. This will be possible from 26 April at the earliest, and only if the number of infections allows and if educational institutions can offer their students self-test kits.
Pre-admission testing will also provide more opportunities in other sectors. People who want to take part in an event or activity will have to get tested beforehand and will be admitted if they can show a negative test result. This can be done using an app. Depending on how the pandemic develops, this will be tested at small-scale events and activities in the period ahead.
Restaurants, bars and shops
At the last press conference on 8 March the government had said that restaurants and bars might be able to open outdoor seating areas by Easter and that shops might be given more scope. However, this was subject to strict conditions: the number of ICU beds occupied by COVID-19 patients had to remain stable and the reproduction number (R) had to stay at around 1. Unfortunately, this is not currently the case. There are now 623 COVID-19 patients in ICUs. The most recent R is 1.11. This number shows how fast the virus is spreading. The number of transmissions remains more or less constant when the reproduction number is 1. The Coronavirus Dashboard gives more information about these and other figures relating to the pandemic.
Vaccination is a key step towards getting life back to normal. By early June, a large number of people will have been vaccinated and this will probably allow a significant easing of restrictions. The current prognosis is that in the course of July this year, everyone aged 18 or older who wants to be vaccinated will have received their first vaccine dose.
Thanks to vaccination, more and more people are protected against coronavirus. But others are still getting infected. Following the basic rules helps protect yourself and others from a coronavirus infection, even if you’ve already been vaccinated. This means washing hands often, keeping your distance, getting tested and staying home when you have symptoms. This will help open up society more quickly.
Wash your hands.
Good hygiene helps prevent the spread of the virus. Wash your hands with soap and water. Do this often, and always when you come home or when you arrive at someone else’s home as a visitor. Touch your face as little as possible. Cough and sneeze into your elbow. Wear a face mask in indoor public spaces. This will help prevent the virus from spreading.
- Stay 1.5 metres from other people,
including relatives and friends. Not practising social distancing makes it easy for coronavirus to spread from one person to the next. That’s also why you should limit contact with other people and avoid busy places.
If you have COVID-19 symptoms, get tested as soon as possible. Even if your symptoms are only mild, like a runny nose. Stay at home while you are waiting for the result, to make sure you don’t infect anyone else.