The Netherlands faces tougher Covid-19 restrictions for Christmas

Dutch PM Mark Rutte on Tuesday warned that if infections don’t start declining again, he couldn’t rule out tightening the current “partial lockdown” in the Netherlands before Christmas, news wires reported.

In a nationally televised news conference Rutte dashed hopes of large gatherings of family and friends to celebrate Christmas, saying rising coronavirus infections mean that existing restrictions of a maximum of three visitors per day to people’s homes will stay in place over the holidays. His comments came hours after the Dutch public health institute reported what it called a “worrying rise” in the number of coronavirus infections in the last week. The health institute said the number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases rose by more than 9,000 to 43,103 in a week. More people were tested in the last week due to a change in the rules for access, but the percentage of positive tests also rose from 11.1% to 11.6%. In the same week, the number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths dropped from 406 to 338. The nationwide death toll since the pandemic first swept into the Netherlands is approaching 10,000.

The Netherlands has been in a partial lockdown since mid-October, when the country was recording some of Europe’s highest infections rates. The closures of all bars and restaurants along with restrictions on the number of people who could gather at home and outdoors brought the infection rate down, but the decline has stagnated in recent weeks. Schools in the Netherlands have remained open.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

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