Ministers agree to restore homework after criticism from MPs

The debate took place in the Hall of the Knights. Photo: Bart Maat ANP

People are being urged to work from home again, and proper ventilation will be included in the ground rules on coronaviruses, following Wednesday’s heated parliamentary debate on the upsurge in positive Covid cases.

Working from home had been a key part of government policing in stopping the spread of the virus for more than a year, but was replaced two weeks ago by a 50% work-from-home requirement.

This is the second time the government has reversed a decision since it decided to drop most of the rules on June 26. Since then, the number of new cases has increased by 500% in one week and the system of “entry test” for clubs and festivals has already been suspended.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte said during the debate that infection figures did not indicate a return to work from home was necessary as many infections were taking place in cafes, bars and festivals.

However, in response to MPs’ wishes, Rutte said homework would again be in the lead.

Ventilation

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, especially in schools and hotels.

“We’re going to work on it and take it 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 sharply criticized the cabinet’s decision to roll back most measures and ignore recommendations from 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 € 135m to help organizers of events whose festivals have been canceled due to the decision to suspend testing for the entry program.

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