Lockdown extended, on-site exams can go on
Acknowledging that it is especially hard for young people to put their social life on hold, Rutte stressed that the measures cannot be relaxed. Even though the coronavirus infection numbers have finally started to drop, the spread of a highly contagious mutation of the virus, first detected in the United Kingdom, is ‘alarming’.
In order to reduce the infection rate, the Outbreak Management Team (OMT) is now looking into the benefits of an evening curfew, which is said to minimise in-person contact. Although Rutte called it a drastic measure, he says the government will take the OMT recommendations ‘very seriously’. Whether a curfew will be implemented or not will be discussed next week, as the OMT is also still looking into alternatives.
The OMT will analyse the effects of the new covid-19 variant on children. Depending on their instructions, primary schools and childcare facilities could reopen from January 25. In any case, exceptions still apply to vulnerable students and teens in their final year of high school. Universities are also still allowed to offer exams and practical training on site.
Ask for help
All non-essential businesses and public venues will remain closed. No more than two adults are allowed to exercise together, and only outside. In general, people should go outside only when necessary and are strongly advised not to host more than two visitors per day. They are also encouraged to ask volunteers to help with groceries or walking their dog when they stay home while awaiting their test results.
People shouldn’t book any trips until April, unless it is for highly impactful jobs or serious family circumstances.
‘Light at the end of the tunnel’ is gleaming thanks to vaccination, says Rutte. Since January 6, around 45,000 health care workers have been vaccinated. By the summer, everyone over sixty years old will be given a covid-19 vaccine, while the rest of the population is scheduled to be vaccinated by autumn.