Last updated 4 months ago by Michael Darmanin
All of you may have heard Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s speech by now, or at least read or heard about the new and stricter measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus. However, there’s a small part in the speech that you might have missed.
Prime Minister Rutte on Monday announced a “hard lockdown” for the Netherlands that will be in place from December 14 at midnight until January 19, 2021. You will find details about the measures almost on all media outlets, and on the government portal. However, we would like to remind you about something that all of us tend to miss amid times of crisis – being kind to each other.
Rutte in his speech recognized that it’ll be a sad Christmas this time, thus we need to be there for each other while following the new rules.
“…That is why I would like to ask all of you around Christmas, within all restrictions, to keep an eye out for people who are having a hard time. For people who are sad. People who are alone. Paying attention to each other helps us get through this miserable period,” Rutte said while addressing the nation from his private office in The Hague.
With the new measures in place, some of us will be more careful, take extra precautions, or some will be angry with the stricter rules. Amid tough times, we tend to be so focussed on our own selves, and our lives, that we tend to forget the ones who are all alone and maybe finding it harder to survive. For instance, internationals who are away from their families and can’t go home for Christmas. Or older people who cannot go out either. Thus, the prime minister’s mention of being there for each other is a friendly reminder for us to keep a check on them and be considerate to each other.
Previously, several reports have highlighted an increase in mental health issues due to lockdown across the globe. In addition, research scholars from Utrecht University along with some other professors created an online series “Adapt”, where they discuss how coronavirus is impacting our society and what can be learned from the pandemic. For instance, Utrecht University professor Kees van den Bos in his lecture talks about how several people are witnessing psychological problems, such as extreme stress, anxiety, and concentration issues among others due to coronavirus, and what can be done about it. On similar lines, Leiden University professor Arjen Boin talks about how “this crisis generates an increasing amount of insecurity” in his lecture ‘Resilient handling of unprecedented dangers‘.
The prime minister also asked everyone to stay at home even during Christmas and limit travel as much as possible. The rule for inviting two guests over the age of 13 stays the same, except for December 24-26, when three people can visit. Some other measures he announced:
- Schools and universities to close
- Libraries, museums, cinema, and zoos to close
- Non-essential stores to close
- Theatres and Casinos to close
- Gyms, indoor sports facilities, and public swimming pools to close
- Sex shops to close
- Hairdressers and beauty salons to close
The pandemic recorded around 600,000 cases and more than 10,000 deaths so far in the Netherlands. According to the latest data, the number of coronavirus cases jumped by 10,000 through Sunday morning – the highest in around six weeks.
Detailed information about the new measures can be found here.