THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) – The Dutch government is widely expected to announce a partial lockdown on Friday amid the surge in COVID-19 cases that are putting the country’s healthcare sector under further pressure.
The move comes amid an increase in coronavirus infections across Europe in recent weeks.
Dutch broadcaster NOS, citing anonymous government sources, reported that the government plans to impose three weeks of measures, including closing non-essential bars, restaurants and shops at 7 p.m. and banning fans from events. sportsmen. This could mean the Dutch national team will play a World Cup qualifier against Norway on Tuesday night behind closed doors.
The government has not formally commented on the reports. New measures are expected to be unveiled by Acting Prime Minister Mark Rutte at a nationally televised press conference at 7 p.m. (1800 GMT).
The move comes a day after the country’s public health institute recorded 16,364 new positive tests in 24 hours – the highest number ever during the pandemic that has killed more than 18,600 people in the Netherlands .
Last week, the government reintroduced the order to wear face masks in stores and expanded use of the country’s COVID pass, which proves the holder has been fully vaccinated, has recovered from COVID-19, or has tested negative. Since then, the cases have only increased.
The Netherlands, where nearly 85% of adults are fully vaccinated, largely ended lockdown restrictions in late September.
Follow AP’s coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.