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The Netherlands will enter a stringent three-week lockdown to curb document Covid-19 infections charges, changing into the primary EU nation to reintroduce nationwide measures for the reason that rollout of coronavirus vaccines earlier this 12 months.

Mark Rutte, the Netherlands’ caretaker prime minister, on Friday introduced the “laborious blow” for the nation, which is able to contain the closure of bars, eating places and important retailers like pharmacies and supermarkets by 8pm, and non-essential shops by 6pm for 3 weeks beginning on Saturday night.

The Netherlands reported a document every day an infection price of greater than 16,300 this week, piling stress on the federal government to impose sweeping social restrictions to forestall the unfold of the virus.

“Now we have an disagreeable message tonight”, Rutte advised a press convention on Friday night. “Thankfully, the overwhelming majority of individuals in our nation have now been vaccinated. In any other case the distress within the hospitals could be incalculable. However the stress in healthcare continues to be extraordinarily excessive”, he stated.

The three-week lockdown will embrace the reintroduction of teleworking for all sectors the place it’s doable, a restrict of 4 friends per family, and no crowds at sporting occasions.

The Netherlands has skilled hovering an infection charges for the reason that authorities eliminated most social restrictions in September.

The Dutch public well being authority recorded 16,287 new Covid-19 instances on Friday, 44 fewer than the day prior to this when the toll was the very best recorded for the reason that outbreak of the pandemic in early 2020.

Rutte’s authorities coalition has come underneath fireplace all through the pandemic, firstly for choosing a so-called “clever lockdown” through the first section of the virus, and later imposing looser social restrictions and masks necessities than in different elements of western Europe. The Dutch had been additionally initially slower than most EU international locations in rolling out vaccines in early 2021 and have additionally lagged behind in administering booster pictures.

The Netherlands has not adopted international locations like France in making proof of vaccination compulsory for entry to retailers or public locations. Well being minister Hugo de Jonge on Friday stated the cupboard would talk about measures to take away proof of unfavourable take a look at from the nation’s Covid-19 go, forcing extra folks to get vaccinated to enter public areas and shops.

The Dutch transfer is the primary nationwide reintroduction of lockdown measures within the EU. On Friday, Austria’s authorities stated it will introduce curbs focusing on the unvaccinated.

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