Netherlands enacts tough new curfew for businesses as cases increase

The government of the Netherlands has put in place tough new restrictions as the country faces a rapid rise in the number of COVID-19 cases which is straining the country’s healthcare system.

“The number of positive test results reported in recent weeks is extremely high,” Dutch Health Minister Hugo de Jonge told a press conference. Politics article reports. “The hard truth, unfortunately, behind the numbers is that over 70 percent of patients who end up in intensive care are not vaccinated.”

Therefore, although the Netherlands has not moved into lockdown, the government has taken a step in that direction by announcing that public places such as bars, restaurants, non-essential stores, cinemas and theaters will close. every evening at 5 pm and only reopen until 5 am. All citizens were urged to “stay at home as much as possible”.

A disturbing wave

According to data from Johns Hopkins University, just over 73% of the eligible population in the Netherlands is vaccinated against COVID-19. Nonetheless, 157,680 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the Netherlands between November 21 and 27. This is a record of a week during the pandemic. In addition, 22,172 new cases were reported on November 24 alone.

According to the Dutch Agency for Disease Control and Prevention (RIVM), an average of 48 patients with COVID-19 are admitted to intensive care every day.

“As cases have increased and medical staff struggle to cope, hospitals across the country have had to cancel non-critical operations,” he added. Politics article reports. “Dutch medical experts have warned of a ‘code black’ situation, with medical staff having to choose which patients to treat and which not to treat. “

A government’s response

The number of new COVID-19 infections and subsequent hospitalizations “is not expected to decline in the short term”, especially since “the number of people testing positive for the coronavirus has never been higher than during the last few weeks, “according to the government. from the Netherlands explained in a statement.

“The government is therefore imposing stricter measures to reduce the number of infections and prevent the health and care sector from being further overburdened. The measures aim to considerably reduce the frequency of contact between people, ”the Dutch government explained. “During the day, people can still go to school, do their jobs, play sports and other activities, but with certain restrictions. “

The evenings on the other hand, until Tuesday December 14 at least, will be different.

The new measures

Basically everything in the Netherlands now closes at 5 p.m.

While essential stores, such as supermarkets and pharmacies, can stay open until 8 p.m., bars, restaurants, theaters and most stores now close at 5 p.m.

Amateur sports matches and training are not permitted after 5:00 p.m. and until 5:00 a.m.

Finally, during the day, face masks are mandatory in public, and the maintenance of a social distance of 1.5 meters to all places where people have assigned seats – including restaurants, bars, cinemas and theaters. This measure aims to restrict occupancy inside.

You can read more about the new restrictions here.

Know before you go

The United States Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention has issued a “Level 4: Very high level of COVID-19” alert for the Netherlands, warning American citizens to “Avoid traveling to the Netherlands”. Based on these guidelines, the US State Department also issued a “Level 4: Do not travel” advisory for the Netherlands, writing bluntly “Do not travel to the Netherlands due to COVID-19 “.

Be sure to read all of our coverage in the Netherlands, including:

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