Cabinet unveils new coronavirus strategy, putting more emphasis on normal life
The new government’s strategy to deal with the coronavirus is based on keeping society functioning as normally as possible, Health Minister Ernst Kuipers told MPs at a briefing.
The policy has two equal goals, ensuring prosperous social and economic continuity and keeping health care accessible to all, Kuipers said.
The new strategy is a change from that of the previous administration, which focused on specific goals, such as protecting vulnerable health people and monitoring pressure on health care.
“Policy will no longer depend on the pressure on the health system but on a broader perspective, both from the social and socio-economic side, as well as from the care services,” Kuipers said.
“We are moving away from eradicating risks to managing them, so that we can live a more normal life.”
This approach, he said, requires sharp choices and a different weighing of interests. “And here too, the measures must be proportional and limit constitutional rights as little as possible,” he said.
This means that in the long term, public funding for companies affected by the pandemic will be phased out and the coronavirus will be considered a normal business risk.
“Kuipers says the economy will be one of the key elements,” said BNR radio commentator Kees Dorresteijn. “That’s hugely important for businesses because it means keeping everything open is a primary goal.”
The coronavirus pass will remain a tool, but its use will be carefully considered. Testing will all be equally important and test centers will remain open, Kuipers said. The government is also considering a new booster vaccination campaign.
Kuipers’ letter coincides with news that Prime Minister Mark Rutte will not be at Tuesday’s press conference. Although he was attending a Senate debate that evening, Rutte also said the current numbers aren’t as bad as they have been.
“If things were really bad it would be less easy to stay away,” he said.
At this time it is unclear what measures will be relaxed next week, but Menno de Jong, a member of the government’s epidemic management team, told Amsterdam broadcaster AT5 that opening hours could be extended and that more people could be allowed to attend cultural events.
The UNWTO will meet on Friday to discuss the current situation and the cabinet will then meet before the press conference to take the final decision.
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