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The Netherlands Rethinks Coronavirus Guidelines on Face Masks as Cases Rise

October 11, 2020, 04.07 PM

Face masks have been mandatory in German shops since the summer, whereas the Dutch government only decided last week to include it as part of its coronavirus guidelines advising their use in indoor public spaces.

Rutte has repeatedly said he has no intention of forcing people to wear face masks — which the World Health Organization calls one of the key tools to stop the virus — while his top medical official has publicly repeated his assertion that their usefulness is unproven.

Read also: WHO: Europe to Brace for Uptick in Covid-19 Deaths in Coming Months

Despite a national poll in which two-thirds said their government should get tougher, Rutte, facing an election in March, responded to a question about masks on television on Tuesday by saying:

"Why would we need to force people? ... What kind of childish nation would that make us? We'll look at it if we have to, but I'd regret it."

Read also: Free Masks Will Help Indonesians Follow Covid-19 Health Protocols: Home Affairs Chief

He held out hope that the new coronavirus guidelines on face masks and earlier closing hours for bars would prove their value.

"The numbers don't look good," he said, "but we can't see the effects of the new measures until at least this weekend."

(Writer: Bart Meijer | Editor: Kevin Liffey)


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