Thursday 25 February 2021

Curfew expected to be extended for three weeks to March 2

The clock on the Grote Kerk in Enschede. Photo: Depositphotos

The 9pm curfew currently in force in the Netherlands could be extended until March 2, sources have told the Telegraaf.

The measure was brought in on January 23 with the aim of preventing a ‘third wave’ of coronavirus overwhelming the healthcare system.

Immunologists have warned that the B-117 strain, first detected in the UK, is 50% more infectious and already accounts for two-thirds of cases in the Netherlands.

Prime minister Mark Rutte said at last week’s preference that the decision whether to continue with the curfew after February 10 would be taken at the end of last week.

Ministers were due to convene with the Outbreak Management Team, the group of scientific advisers that guides its coronavirus strategy, in the Catshuis on Sunday, but the meeting was postponed for 24 hours because of the bad weather.

The OMT is thought to favour a longer curfew because cases and patient numbers, though falling, are still relatively high and there has not been enough time to evaluate the effect of the rule.

The Telegraaf quoted a source saying: ‘If the curfew is extended it is a serious option in order to bring it in line with the other coronavirus measures.’

Other than reopening primary schools from February 8 and allowing shops to set up pick-up points for online orders, the lockdown restrictions will not be eased before March 2. Parliament is expected to approve any request to extend the curfew.

Dutch police issued over 8,000 fines last week for failure to comply with the coronavirus regulations, mostly to people who were out after 9pm without a valid reason.

In total, 6,959 fines were handed down for breaking the curfew, while most of the rest were for failing to wear a face mask in a place where they are required.

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