Insiders from The Hague report that the second step of the inaugural plan can continue according to plan, and the cabinet will make the formal decision on Monday. “It is running according to expectations,” says one insider. “The graphs are looking good.” Another source says: “We can continue.” The number of occupied hospital beds is decreasing, and infection rates have been dropping for days. There are now 686 coronavirus patients in integrated circuits, 24 fewer than on Saturday. On average, the institute is still counting 5,500 infections per day, which is much lower than it was at the end of April.
So the second step of the opening plan could continue on Wednesday. The terraces can then be open for a longer period (from six in the morning to eight in the evening), many outdoor and indoor sports will be possible again, and zoos, theme parks and open museums can once again receive visitors. Libraries are also opening.
This graph is important for Cabinet’s more flexible policy: overall hospital bed occupancy is now falling steadily after the third wave peak at the end of April.
If the regression continues steadily, there is a chance to lighten faster. According to the pencil-drawn route of the lockdown, the third step – indoor open restaurants, cinemas and theaters, too, will receive four guests at home – on June 9, but if the coronavirus comes back early and faster, these additions can be made, the prime minister said during Press conference. “If you fall hard, it could be,” a source said. “But this is not on the table right now.”
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Rutte and Minister De Jong have already announced their intention, but unlike previous times, they have already built an emergency brake option: if hospital occupancy increases unexpectedly, the ‘pause button’ can be pressed. “It will be a balancing act for some time,” the prime minister said.
But the downward trend continued last week: The influx to hospitals was much lower than it was during the third wave peak in April: on average, the National Institute of Public Health counted 260 new coronavirus patients every day, which fell to more than 200 – in terms of percentage. Even as low as the 20 percent threshold applied by OMT. “We are seeing this decrease mainly due to an increase in immunity,” said RIVM director Jaap Van Dessel in a round of questions with MPs last week. “By passing through infections and vaccinations.”