A member of medical staff takes a coronavirus test sample of a man as people are asked to get tested after a primary school reported an outbreak of the more transmissible British variant of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Bergschenhoek, Netherlands, Jan 13, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

THE HAGUE – Primary schools in the Netherlands will be fully reopened from Feb 8, the outgoing government decided on Sunday.

According to the Outbreak Management Team, the advisory body of the government, it is justified if primary schools as well as daycare and special primary education open their doors again amid declining COVID-19 infection figures.

The demissionary government of Prime Minister Mark Rutte took that advice. Out-of-school childcare and secondary schools will remain closed.

As part of the current strict lockdown, Dutch primary schools closed on Dec 16. On Jan 12, the lockdown was extended till Feb 9.

“It is a relief that the schools can reopen, for parents and teachers, but of course especially for the children. Because children learn best at school, also socially,” said Education Minister Arie Slob in a press statement.

“At the same time, we will continue to monitor the situation closely, because the situation in the Netherlands remains serious,” he added.

As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccination is underway in many European countries with the already-authorized coronavirus vaccines.

Meanwhile, 236 candidate vaccines are still being developed worldwide — 63 of them in clinical trials — in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain and the United States, according to information released by the World Health Organization on Jan 26.