People are again urged to work from home, and adequate ventilation will be included in basic coronavirus rules, following Wednesday’s heated parliamentary debate on the spike in positive Covid cases.
Working from home had been a key part of government policy to prevent the spread of the virus for more than a year, but was replaced two weeks ago with a 50% work from home requirement.
It is the second time the government has reversed a decision since deciding to let most of the rules pass on June 26. Since then, the number of new cases has increased by 500% in one week and the “entry test” system for clubs and festivals has already been suspended.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte said during the debate that the infection figures did not indicate a return to working from home was necessary as many infections were occurring in cafes, bars and festivals.
However, to accommodate the wishes of MPs, Rutte said working from home would again be in the lead.
The importance of good ventilation is also added to the three basic rules of social distancing, hand washing and testing. Several political parties had called for ventilation to be added to the list, particularly in schools and in the hotel industry.
“We will work on it and go from there,” Rutte told MPs, adding that it is important that professionals are involved to ensure that ventilation systems do not spread the virus further.
MPs strongly criticized the cabinet’s decision to reverse most measures and ignore recommendations made by its own health experts. But some have pointed out that parliament itself voted to approve the relaxation of the rules.
Ministers also agreed to set aside an additional €135 million to help event organizers whose festivals have been canceled due to the decision to suspend testing for the entry scheme.
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