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Christmas options limited as infection rate stabilises, Rutte warns

Mark Rutte on video during the conference. Photo: Piroschka van de Wouw ANP Mark Rutte on video during the conference. Photo: Piroschka van de Wouw ANP

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – It will be difficult to relax the strict coronavirus measures now in place if the current rate of new infections continues, prime minister Mark Rutte told an online meeting of  his party, the right-wing Liberal VVD, on Saturday.

Over 6,000 new cases were reported in the 24 hours to Saturday morning and this, said Rutte, was not something he wanted to see. Again, he reiterated the message from last week’s press conference: if people stick to the rules, and infection rates come down ‘we might be able to do something in December’.

The cabinet has agreed to discuss whether or not some measures, such as the closure of cafes and bars, could be relaxed for the festive season. And Rutte promised on Tuesday to give more information about what may and may not be possible for larger group meetings at Christmas by December 8.

‘But with these figures it will be difficult,’ Rutte told the online meeting. In total, 6,093 new coronavirus cases were registered on Saturday, 126 more than in Friday’s report, showing that the drop which began at the end of October has now stagnated.

The number of hospital patients continues to decline, with 185 new patients on Saturday, or down 32 on Friday’s figure. In total, 1,902 people are now being treated in hospital for coronavirus, of whom 550 are in intensive care.


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