The coronavirus measures are testing everyone’s resilience, both physically and mentally. The longer the crisis continues, the more difficult it becomes for everyone. Now that a year has passed, the pandemic’s social and economic effects are mounting dramatically.
The government remains focused on protecting people in at-risk groups, and ensuring healthcare remains accessible to those in need. The rise of the British coronavirus variant means that the daily infection rate is now dropping less, or even increasing, compared with a few weeks ago. A third wave of infections seems unavoidable.
One of my biggest difficulties in adapting to the Netherlands was, of course, the weather. I arrived here at the end of December, having come from a tropical country that was in the middle of its summer, and where we have only a small variation in the length of daylight between the seasons of the year.
A new app has recently become extremely popular across the Netherlands, ‘Ommetje’. A Dutch professor of neuropsychology, Erik Scherder, has devised the app, that hopes to get more people walking each day by adding some competition to the mix.
The Dutch Prime Minister gave a press conference on Tuesday several stronger Coronavirus regulations, including shutting all hospitality outlets for two weeks, and banning the sale of alcohol after 20:00 (including in shops).
Cafés, restaurants, hotels can remain open for take-away service, with Rutte describing it as a ‘partial lockdown’. The amount of people allowed to meet inside has been reduced to 30, and everyone in the Netherlands has been asked to work from home as much as possible. Shops have also been asked to minimise the number of visitors inside at one time, and uphold the 1.5-metre social distancing rule.
Face-masks will now be required in all schools, for all age groups- though this will remain ‘urgent advice’ until it is written into law.
Dutch residents are also being asked not to play group or team sports, however the Cabinet has decided against banning holidays, instead requesting that people not travel to ‘orange list’ countries.
The measures will remain in place for four weeks, with a review after 14 days.
At Connect International, we understand the worry and inconvenience that lockdowns have on everyone’s lives. We are aiming to maintain as many activities as we can (online and with the 4-people limitation groups) so that everyone can continue to connect with other people. If your mental health is suffering due to the new regulations, the IWCN has a web-page with some links you may find useful, too.
If you have symptoms such as a cold, cough, fever or sudden loss of smell or taste, you can get tested to see if you are infected with coronavirus.
Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890) is one of the most famous Dutch painters, and his works are studied and admired around the world. He’s normally associated with the south of the Netherlands, but an important period of his life was spent right here in the North, in Drenthe!