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Netherlands Looks to Partial Lockdown as Covid Cases Rise


The Netherlands’ government introduced a three-week partial lockdown to quell a fourth wave of coronavirus 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.

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