The Netherlands returns to tight measures over COVID-19

The Netherlands has tightened restrictive measures in order to curb the rapid spread of COVID-19.

Until August 13, cafes will have to close from midnight to 6 a.m., while discotheques and nightclubs will be completely closed. Restaurant patrons are now required to eat sitting 1.5 meters away from each other. Live and sports broadcasts on giant screens are prohibited.

Restrictions are also introduced for outdoor events – a maximum of 1,000 people. In addition, no more than five hundred people will be able to attend group events indoors. Multi-day entertainment events (such as music festivals) are banned until August 14, according to the news agency Belga.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte also responded to criticism that the Dutch government was too quick to relax the isolation measures. “It was wise to take this decision. We took into account the increase in infections. But now it seems to be going faster than the mathematical models predicted at the time,” the Dutch prime minister said. Dutch Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said the decision to drop most restrictive measures at the end of June was “logical and responsible.”

According to Reuters, the Netherlands lifted most isolation measures on June 26 as the number of cases declined. In addition, about two-thirds of the population had at least one vaccination against COVID-19. However, when bars, restaurants and nightclubs reopened, the number of those infected rose sharply. On July 9, for example, more than 5,400 cases of infection were reported. And a week ago about a thousand people per day were identified with SARS-CoV-2. It is noted that half of those infected have the delta variant of the coronavirus.