COVID-19 update | 4 October 2020

Corona News Update 4 October 2020
– Written by Bart Swinkels –

There’s just been another press conference regarding Covid, with this time only one major announcement. Aside from that, it was mostly an evaluation on where the Netherlands currently stands.

The major announcement is that the previous rules, as said in the announcement of the partial lockdown have been extended until ‘in December’, without a specific indication when in the month of December. Based on other comments made however, I think we should settle for the current rules until at least mid-December. I will repeat these rules and measures in a bit.

On the current situation in the country:

This week is the crucial week to see whether the previously announced rules have had any effect. It seems as if the curve is flattening, yet on a high plateau. We should of course go for a reduction, which should be visible next week. Based on that, a major press conference will be held next Tuesday again, in which new rules could be announced. If the situation does not significantly improve, or even worsens before Tuesday, there might be an earlier press conference with stricter measures. A total lockdown is still on the table, but it is a measure the Dutch government is hesitant to take as it aims to balance the societal situation with the healthcare capacity.

Current estimates project a peak in hospitalization rates sometime in the next ten-ish days. Announcing stricter rules and measures today would do little to nothing to help relieve stress on healthcare, as the effect of measures can only be seen after a ten-days period of time. This again means we’re currently awaiting the effects of the previously stricter set rules.

For national holidays as Sinterklaas, the expectation is that these can only be celebrated on a small scale, keeping in mind the currently applying rules and measures.

In slightly more positive news, the current partial lockdown seems to have brought down the virus-reproduction rate (R) down to anywhere between 1,16 or even 0,88, meaning we’re nearing a negative growth and a reduction of the total number of cases. This decrease already seems to have started in the Northern provinces.

Despite it not explicitly being asked in the press conference, I kindly ask all of you to follow the following base rules, as I’ve repeated many times before now:

– Keep 1,5m distance
– Wash your hands
– Wear face masks in public places
– Follow quarantine guidelines if those apply to you.

For completeness sake, here’s the rules of the partial lockdown once more:

– Cafés and restaurants will close down entirely but take-away will remain possible
– Hotels will remain open
– All stores will close at 20.00h, except supermarkets
– For adults (18+), team sports are no longer allowed. Individual sports practice can still go on, but do check with your gym/club/etc. Teams of 4 people or less can possibly continue.
– Canteens, showers and dressing rooms in sport facilities will be closed. Please check with your fave gym/club/place what the rules over there are.
– All competitions will be shut down, except professional sports
– 18- can go on as previously
– All events are now officially cancelled.
– Sales of alcohol and softdrugs are prohibited between 20.00h and 07.00h
– Consuming and even carrying alcohol and softdrugs between 20.00h and 07.00h is now prohibited.
– Libraries and museums can remain open, but timeslot-reservations are mandatory
– There’s a maximum of 3 visitors per house(hold) per day.
– Groups are limited to 4 people from different households
– Indoor venues are now capped at 30ppl. There will not be any exceptions to this.
– Public transport is limited to essential travels
– Facemasks will be mandatory in the hallways of all educational institutions.
– Facemasks will become mandatory in a few weeks, but until the right legal framework is in place it will remain a recommendation.

Aside from this, the standard rules remain:
– Keep 1,5m distance from each and every person.
– Frequently wash and disinfect your hands.
– Wear your facemasks if you’re out.
– Avoid public places where possible.
– Limit your social contacts.