Can I still walk Rex? Five questions about the curfew that may be coming | NOW



The introduction of a curfew is still in the air. Mayors will discuss the measure on Tuesday evening and the cabinet, which is seeking support, will meet on Wednesday. But what exactly does a curfew actually mean? Five questions and answers about the ban.

What is a curfew? Can I still walk my dog?

A curfew means that from a certain time in the evening you are no longer allowed to go out on the street without a valid reason. A document on the government website states that, for example, the curfew could apply between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m., although it has not yet been decided.

It is also not yet known what exactly is a ‘valid reason’, as the decision on the curfew has not yet been taken. But you can think of traveling to and from (essential) work, having to provide medical assistance to people or animals, assistance to a person in need of help, walking a pet, a return trip abroad or a calamity.

Can the police enforce the measure?

The police say they are prepared should a curfew be introduced. A spokesperson left to the news agency on Monday ANP know that the schedules can be adjusted in the short term. However, the enforcement of a curfew is called a “big job”.

Issues such as prevention in the neighborhood “will remain”. “Stricter choices have to be made,” said a spokesman.

According to the police unions ACP and NPB and the Dutch BOA Association, there are the necessary snags to a curfew. For example, it is feared that enforcement will be difficult for police officers, because they are already very busy and have just passed the turn of the year.

Why is a curfew being considered at all, the number of new infections is still falling?

The number of new infections in the last days was below the moving average of the past seven days, but experts from the RIVM and the Outbreak Management Team (OMT) are very concerned about the British mutation of the corona virus.

It is expected that this mutation, which is much more contagious than the original virus, will get the upper hand. In London, the variant led to overcrowded hospitals. Sometimes patients were in an ambulance waiting for hours on a hospital bed.

To avoid similar pressure on healthcare in the Netherlands, the curfew was put back on the table. According to experts, a significant part of the infections takes place in people’s homes, for example when they have others visiting. A curfew should ensure that those social contacts are limited in the evenings.

The mutation has already surfaced in the Netherlands, so it cannot be avoided. However, a curfew can prevent the mutation from spreading too quickly.

Incidentally, a curfew is not the only way to prevent this. A large cluster was discovered in the municipality of Lansingerland, where dozens of residents were found to be infected with the coronavirus mutation. That is why a large-scale test operation was started last week, in which all residents aged two years and older were called upon to be tested. For example, after a positive test, people will hopefully remain in isolation, while otherwise they would spread the virus unnoticed.

What are the experiences with curfews in other countries?

Belgium, Spain, parts of Germany, Italy and France, among others, have experience with curfews. Marc Van Ranst, professor of virology at KU Leuven, said in the NU.nl podcast that he hates the measure, but that it is “simply necessary” for a short period of time. For example, he points out that it will then become more difficult to organize parties and enforcement will become easier.

However, the exact contribution of a curfew is difficult to determine, according to him, because Belgium has introduced several strict measures since the end of December. For example, families were allowed to invite one person for Christmas. It is therefore difficult to estimate how much influence the curfew will have.

The same goes for other countries. In France, for example, a curfew has already been imposed several times in (parts of) the country. Since last week, a tightened curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. has been in place for the entire country. Prime Minister Jean Castex is positive about the measure. He reports that the increase in the number of new infections is smaller in the fifteen departments where a curfew already applied at the beginning of this month. But critics say in French media that it is too early for conclusions.

Who makes a decision and when does that happen?

The cabinet has asked the OMT for advice on the curfew. This is expected on Tuesday.

On Tuesday evening, a day later than planned due to the missing OMT advice, the Security Council meets to discuss the curfew. The 25 mayors are not yet convinced of the measure and want to look at alternatives.

On Wednesday morning, the cabinet will sit around the table again to discuss the measure. The decision may then be taken.

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