28 January 2022, by Victoria Séveno

The Dutch government has announced that free surgical face masks and rapid self-tests will be made available for low-income households in the Netherlands from mid-February. 

10 million free masks and COVID-19 tests for low-income families

In a statement released on Thursday evening, the cabinet said it was “important to make self-tests and face masks available” to families who “may experience financial barriers” when attempting to access or purchase these materials.

From mid-February, 10 million face masks and 10 million self-tests will be distributed amongst all municipalities in the Netherlands, who will, in turn, distribute supplies amongst households that earn up to 120 percent of the national minimum wage. The government has calculated that there will be approximately six tests and six masks available per person. 

Dutch municipalities can order free tests and masks via government

In addition to this scheme, 30 municipalities that have been highlighted as having a low rate of vaccination against COVID-19 as well as a high infection rate will also be eligible to order free surgical face masks and self-tests to distribute amongst all local residents. A total of 5,5 million masks and 5,5 million tests will be made available under this scheme.

“It is expected that these municipalities can make a difference with a district-oriented approach to vaccination and testing in protecting people,” the cabinet writes. Exactly which municipalities are eligible is yet to be announced, but earlier documents released by the government suggest it is a combination of a number of small and large Dutch cities, as well as “medium-sized and smaller municipalities Limburg, the so-called Bible Belt, Flevoland, and South Holland.”

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