Netherlands relaxes COVID-19 rules despite rising infection rate

The Netherlands has relaxed its COVID-19 restrictions as the country heads to the polls. EPA-EFE/SEM VAN DER WAL

All COVID-19 restrictions in the Netherlands will become voluntary as of next Wednesday.

Exactly two years since the restrictions were first introduced, Health Minister Ernst Kuipers declared that it is now safe to relax the measures. People are still advised to frequently wash their hands and isolate themselves when coming in contact with people who tested positive. Teleworking, COVID travel certificates, and having a negative test result to attend an event will no longer be mandatory. The new measures will come into effect next Wednesday (23 March).

However, the Netherlands is still facing a rise in COVID-19 hospitalisation cases. As of Tuesday, 291 people were admitted to hospitals. There are currently 1952 hospitalised cases, 156 of which are in ICUs.

This is not an isolated case as much of the EU is seeing a spike in cases.

Germany, for instance, has gone from 1,570 cases per million on 2 March, to 2,330 cases per million as of 12 March, while Italy has seen a rise from ​​1,956 cases per million on 27 February up to 3,955 cases per million from 12 March.

However, Kuipers believes ​​”healthcare and hospitals can handle it well” in the Netherlands, despite the many infections affecting people over 50.

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