Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Friday announced Western Europe’s first partial lockdown of the winter, with three weeks of COVID-19 curbs on restaurants, shops, and sporting events.
Protesters set off fireworks in The Hague after Rutte unveiled the “annoying and far-reaching” measures following a record spike of infections to more than 16,000 a day.
At a news conference, Rutte said the situation required a “hard blow of a few weeks because the virus is everywhere, throughout the country, in all sectors and all ages”.
“Fortunately, the vast majority have been vaccinated, otherwise the misery in the hospitals would be incalculable at the moment.”
Bars, restaurants, cafes and supermarkets will have to shut at 8:00 pm for the next three weeks from Saturday, while non-essential shops must shut at 6:00 pm.
People will be limited to having four visitors at home and have been advised to work at home unless absolutely necessary.
Public events will be scrapped while football matches including the Netherlands’ home World Cup qualifier with Norway next week must be played behind closed doors.
Schools will however remain open, and people will be allowed to leave their homes without restrictions.
The government will review the situation on December 3 to see if further measures are needed, Rutte added.