Netherlands Looks to Partial Lockdown as Covid Cases Rise
The Dutch lockdown does not single out those who are unvaccinated. The country is experiencing rising case numbers amid a fourth wave of infections.
The Netherlands imposes a partial lockdown for all, as European cases and deaths rise.
Shoppers wearing face masks in Amsterdam this month.Credit…Ramon Van Flymen/EPA, via Shutterstock
Nov. 12, 2021Updated 4:49 p.m. ET
The Netherlands’ government introduced a three-week partial lockdown to quell a fourth wave of Covid infections amid a spike in case numbers, the Associated Press reported on Friday.
It is the first recent lockdown affecting all people — whether vaccinated or not — in Western Europe, and it comes as the Netherlands registered 16,364 new cases on Thursday. That figure, a level not seen since early in the pandemic, was a 33 percent rise over the new cases registered a week earlier.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Hugo de Jonge, the health minister, announced the measures on Friday evening. They will go into effect on Saturday.
Restaurants, bars and cafes in the Netherlands will have to close at 8 p.m., as will “essential shops” like supermarkets, a government website said. Sporting events will be held without spectators. Residents will not be allowed to invite more than four guests into their homes. Social distancing rules will be reinstated.
Art and cultural performances at cinemas, live theaters and concert venues will not have compulsory closing times.
A crowd of protesters against the lockdown gathered outside the Hague, where Mr. Rutte was speaking, and several of them were detained for setting off fireworks and throwing objects at police, Reuters reported.
De Telegraaf, a Dutch news outlet, published photos and social media video that showed police turning a water cannon on protesters. The outlet wrote that the protest had since broken up and the streets were calm.
Protests against coronavirus mitigation measures have become commonplace in many European countries. In Italy on Friday, police searched the homes of four people in Milan affiliated with a movement that protests coronavirus rules after they were accused of harassing journalists who are reporting on the demonstrations.
Cases and deaths have been rising sharply in Europe as a whole, and other countries have instituted or are considering new restrictions. This week, the World Health Organization reported that Europe accounted for about two-thirds of the world’s 3.1 million new reported cases in the first week of November.
Officials in hard-hit countries are urgently seeking to quell the outbreaks as winter approaches and the threat of flu rises. Austria has seen a burst of interest in vaccinations in the week since it barred unvaccinated people who could not prove that they had recovered from a previous infection from cafes, pubs, restaurants, theaters, gyms and hairdressers. And Germany announced that it will once again offer free Covid tests to all adults in the country.
Mr. Rutte’s cabinet also discussed on Friday whether to introduce longer-term measures that would require people to provide proof of vaccination or past infection to get access to certain services or to participate in certain events.
About 73 percent of the country’s population is fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to the Our World in Data project at Oxford University.