COVID-19: Quiet evening in the Netherlands, despite tightening restrictions

COVID-19: Quiet evening in the Netherlands, despite tightening restrictions

MISE & Agrave; DAY

The Netherlands had a much quieter than apprehended evening on Friday, without violent protests, despite the Dutch government announcing increased health restrictions to tackle a surge in COVID cases -19.

“From Sunday, everything in the Netherlands is in principle closed between 5:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.”, except for essential stores, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said at a press conference in The Hague.

If schools will remain open despite the biggest increase in infections among children, students aged 10 and older will need to wear masks in hallways, but not in classrooms, according to the executive.

Bars and restaurants will continue to operate until 5:00 p.m. Their customers will however have to wear masks and the tables will have to be at least 1.5 meters from each other, which will in fact reduce attendance.

“You have to be realistic, the daily figures are still there. too high, ”said the head of government, who said he felt“ responsible ”for the situation. “We must do better,” he said again.

Dutch authorities recorded 21,350 new infections on Friday, slightly below the average of 22,258 cases over the past seven days. Very high figures for a country of 17 million people.

Hospitals will cancel planned operations to free up beds as cases reach record levels, despite the latest restrictions and the fact that around 85% of Dutch adults are vaccinated, said Dutch Health Minister Hugo de Jonge.

“My body, my choice”

The only good news came from the security situation, after four nights of high tension in different cities over the past week, including Rotterdam and The Hague. While clashes were expected after these new restrictions, the evening went on peacefully on Friday.

In the capital, around fifty people gathered in the administrative district where the Prime Minister was making his speech, multiplied the whistles and saucepans, causing sirens to roar from their megaphones.

But there was no violence in the demonstration, which was surrounded by a large police force. Police in The Hague only reported several arrests for possession of fireworks and lack of identification.

“The authorities are taking the wrong direction. They use a virus which is not dangerous, a flu, for the great reset ” inscription “The masks do damage” on his sweater.

“COVID is like the flu, it is a virus with which we must learn to live, in society, rather than beat it, because we can't do it, ”said Babs, a protester carrying a cardboard sign that read:“ Stop lying. ”

Like David, Babs refuses to be get vaccinated. “It's my body, my choice,” she said, using a feminist slogan.

The country reintroduced partial containment on November 13, with a series of health restrictions affecting in particular the restaurant sector, which must close at 8 p.m. Public demonstrations are banned and football matches played behind closed doors.

The government is also planning to ban certain places for the unvaccinated, including bars and restaurants.

The Prime Minister's last two conferences devoted to the epidemic were marked by clashes between police and protesters outside ministries in The Hague.

Then an anti-restriction demonstration, organized via social networks, took place quickly skidded to Rotterdam, where cars were set on fire, police stoned and targeted with fireworks by hundreds of hooded youths and hooligans.

The unrest then spread to others Dutch cities. A total of 173 people have been arrested across the country since Friday.

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