With the Netherlands reporting a record number of daily cases on Wednesday, the Dutch government is looking ahead to possible future restrictions, with parliament set to discuss the expansion of the coronavirus certificate system later this month.

Dutch government to debate coronavirus certificate system

After putting plans to expand the coronavirus certificate system on hold in December, the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer) confirmed this week that the topic will be discussed in the new year, but that it will be on January 17 at the earliest – after the date of the next coronavirus press conference. 

The Netherlands may currently be in lockdown, but if these restrictions are lifted it is likely the country will return to the previous 3G system, where members of the public are required to present proof of vaccination against COVID-19, proof of recent recovery, or a recent negative coronavirus test in order to gain access to restaurants, cinemas and events, for example. 

The House is set to debate the expansion of the 3G rules and determine whether the system could also be put in place in higher education or in the workplace, requiring employees (in certain sectors) to provide a valid coronavirus certificate in order to go work. The House will also discuss the possibility of introducing the legislation for a 2G system, where only proof of vaccination or proof of recovery is recognised. 

Shops support introduction of 3G rules for customers

When the 3G system was first announced, it was met with much opposition, as businesses argued it would be too difficult to enforce and people worried that it would infringe on the freedoms of unvaccinated people. Since then, however, businesses have said they would rather enforce a 3G or even a 2G system than stay closed under lockdown.

This week, retail organisation INretail said shops were “prepared to come up with extra measures” in order to be able to open in a “controlled and safe manner.” The group has proposed a variety of measures, including a return to shopping by appointment or the use of 3G rules for customers. 

Back in November, the House of Representatives already voted in favour of expanding the coronavirus certificate system to non-essential shops.

The Netherlands reports record number of infections 

This week’s report from the National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM) revealed that, while hospital admissions continue to fall, the number of infections was once again on the rise. On Wednesday, the Netherlands recorded 24.590 positive coronavirus tests – the highest daily figure the country has seen since the start of the pandemic, breaking the record of 23.713 set in November.

Many are concerned about what the high infection rate could mean for the Dutch healthcare system; with an increasing number of staff members facing quarantine as a result of a positive test result, hospitals are worried the Omicron wave could lead to staff shortages, placing further pressure on healthcare workers.

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