Netherlands announces partial lockdown amid spike in coronavirus cases

New restrictions include closure of bars, cafes and restaurants and mandatory non-medical face masks.

Ben Ariel ,

Amsterdam
Amsterdam
iStock

The Netherlands will go into "partial lockdown" to curb one of Europe's biggest coronavirus surges Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Tuesday, according to AFP.

The new restrictions include orders for all bars, cafes and restaurants to close. The sale of alcohol and cannabis will also be banned after 8:00 p.m. in a bid to reduce the social contacts that have led to the rise in COVID-19 cases, Rutte said of the steps.

After long refusing to make the wearing of masks compulsory, the Prime Minister ordered that non-medical face coverings must also be worn in all indoor spaces by people aged over 13.

"We are going into a partial lockdown. It hurts but it's the only way, we have to be stricter," Rutte told a televised press conference.

"If we do all of this, we can quickly return to a more normal life."

Among the new measures, team sports for over 18s are banned, while people are now limited to having three visitors at their home per day.

Restaurants and cafes will close for everything except takeaway, as will the Netherlands' famous "coffee shops" that sell cannabis.

The rules will take effect at 10:00 p.m. on Wednesday and will last for an initial period of two weeks, when the government will review whether they have halted the spread of the virus.

The Netherlands currently has the third highest rate of new infections per 100,000 people in Europe over the last 14 days, behind only the Czech Republic and Belgium, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

On Tuesday, Dutch health authorities reported a daily record of 7,393 new coronavirus infections, with 43,903 new cases over the past week and 150 deaths.

News of the lockdown follows reports of a Dutch woman who is believed to be the first person in the world to die after being re-infected with the coronavirus.

The unidentified woman, who was an 89-year-old cancer patient, tested positive for the coronavirus twice two months apart. Doctors found that the strains of the virus were different each time she was tested.

In recent days, many countries in Europe have declared new emergency measures in an attempt to stem the spread of the coronavirus, following record numbers of new cases of the virus.



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