The cabinet has opted for limited relaxation to prevent too many employees in crucial sectors such as healthcare, the fire service and education from dropping out due to illness. Prime Minister Rutte and Minister Kuipers said tonight that they fear a “disruption” of society and “uncontrollable situations” due to the rapidly rising infection rates.

Until now, the measures were mainly prompted by the fear that there were too few hospital beds for an increasing number of corona patients.

“So many people can drop out that this causes disruption in relevant parts of society,” warned Kuipers, the new Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport. “We also have important facilities under pressure.”

At the corona press conference, Kuipers and Rutte tried to explain why the lockdown that was introduced on December 18 in the Netherlands is not yet coming to an end. For the first time, graphs were shown of developments in the infection figures.


Starting tomorrow, more is allowed: shops, sports clubs, music schools and higher education will open again. But, despite great pressure from society and mayors, the catering and cultural sector must remain closed for at least another ten days. “It is too risky. It leads to uncontrollable situations”, is the firm conviction of Prime Minister Rutte.

The message from Rutte and Kuipers is clear: with the current relaxation, an enormous risk is already being taken. There are now more than 35,000 new corona cases every day, which can rise to 80,000 infections per day due to the adjusted policy.

Check here what is allowed again from Saturday;

Rutte and Kuipers sketched a scenario in which there are no more staff in hospitals or schools due to illness. “What do you do if the Netherlands drops out?” Kuipers wondered, without answering the question.

The call to open up more sectors in the Netherlands is getting louder. In neighboring countries such as Belgium and Germany, the rules are less strict than in the Netherlands. Rutte and Kuipers say they understand the criticism. “Not everything can open at the same time,” said the prime minister. “I understand very well that it feels completely unfair.”


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