SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The government will decide this week or next if the partial relaxation of coronavirus rules planned for June can go ahead, prime minister Mark Rutte told reporters on Wednesday evening.
‘We hope that things can go ahead as laid out in the road map,’ Rutte said. ‘But it all depends on how the virus is spreading.’ The government has said that cinemas, cafes and restaurants can open on June 1, as long as the 1.5 metre rule is adhered to.
The reopening of primary schools, daycare centres, hair dressing salons and other ‘contact professions’ this week had proceeded smoothly, Rutte said. But he again stressed that public transport use should be restricted to people in essential professions.
And he warned of the lengthy incubation period the virus appears to have. ‘The statistics are heading in the right direction, but there is a time lag,’ he said. ‘You don’t get sick immediately.’
According to research by school heads association AVS, thousands of pupils did not show up at school in the first days after they reopened, and 90% of schools had at least one missing pupil – often because they had other health issues.
Nevertheless, in the main teachers were happy about how things had gone. Staff members were also absent in around half the schools but just a handful of schools had to take other measures because of the shortage.
‘Teachers have been working very hard in recent months, including during the holidays, and we are proud of the way school heads have organised their teams in these strange times,’ AVS chairwoman Petra van Haren said.