The Netherlands announced Tuesday it was scrapping its last major Covid restrictions including obligatory face masks on public transport and testing large crowds before entry into indoor events.
The announcement comes as high infection rates have slowed and hospital admissions remain low in the country, where health officials have recorded 7.2 million positive tests since the Covid-19 pandemic broke out two years ago.
“There are a number of things that will be relaxed from next Wednesday,” Health Minister Ernst Kuipers told journalists in The Hague.
“This includes the use of face masks in public transport, testing to get entrance for an inside event involving more than 500 people and thirdly, the use of a digital corona certificate for entry into the Netherlands.”
The government was also dropping its advice for people to work from home, Kuipers added.
Although most restrictions may have been scrapped, the government is still promoting a range of non-obligatory recommendations.
“What remain — and are massively important — are measures to curb the spread of the virus… like frequently washing hands and keeping social distancing where possible,” said Kuipers.
People are also advised to stay home if they show symptoms and to do a home test, staying in quarantine for a minimum of five days.
“Coronavirus has not disappeared,” the Dutch health ministry said in a statement. “People will still get sick from it.”
But the vaccinations had worked well, it added, “… and the consequences of a new wave of infections are less severe than in 2020 and 2021”.