Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the country will go into “total lockdown” if the numbers do not improve in the coming weeks.
The government of the Netherlands decided to close bars and restaurants Starting this Wednesday as part of a “partial confinement” that will last a minimum of four weeks in order to stop the sustained increase in coronavirus cases throughout the country.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the country needed take another step towards total confinement because, otherwise, hospitals would be overwhelmed by the number of patients with urgent needs and who could not receive treatment.
“We must be tougher on ourselves,” Rutte said in a speech to the nation. do not affect the school system beyond the extension in the mandatory use of face masks.
“Education is too important,” he said.
Few countries in Europe have seen such a marked increase in cases in recent weeks as the Netherlands, and Rutte said the numbers were “extremely high”.
In the week ending Tuesday, they reported 43,903 new infections in a country of 17.3 million inhabitants, an increase of about 60% compared to the previous week. The number of people who ended up in intensive care wards increased from 121 to 192 and there were 150 deaths compared to 89 the previous week. The Amsterdam and Rotterdam regions are the current epicenters of the virus in the Netherlands.
Rutte said that the attitude of the population was responsible of much of the rebound.
“On the whole, there were too many people who did not respect the rules and we cannot do other things than increase the measures. The key is our behavior, ” he said.
The prime minister warned that “if things do not improve in the coming weeks, we will go into total confinement” Due to the rapid rebound in COVID-19 cases, Rutte said that “the hammer to kill the virus must be big enough.”
To make sure that people who usually go out to bars do not organize meetings at home, the government also banned the sale of alcohol after 8pm. The measures come into force on Wednesday afternoon.
In additional measures, the government announced that each family will not be able to receive more than three guests a day. Travel by public transport should be limited as much as possible.