Streets in the Netherlands are deserted as curfew comes in
Back in lockdown: Streets in the Netherlands are deserted as curfew comes in after protests over new Covid restrictions
- Streets of Rotterdam were quiet and empty tonight following introduction of rules closing nightlife by 8pm
- Around 200 protestors clashed with riot police and were blasted with a water cannon in The Hague on Friday
- It comes as Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced the return of a partial Covid lockdown in the country
- Bars, restaurants, shops will close from 8pm and social distancing measures are set to be reimposed
The streets in the Netherlands were tonight deserted as new government rules dictated all restaurants and bars close their doors for trade at 8pm.
The Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte recently announced a return to partial lockdown in the country in a bid to combat the spread of coronavirus.
Restaurants, bars and all nightlife have been ordered to close for business each day no later than 8pm, leaving many streets around the country deserted on what would normally be a bustling time for nightlife.
Pictures taken in Rotterdam show the near-deserted streets following the introduction of the new rules, which saw protests against them earlier today.
A street in Rotterdam is left almost completely empty this evening following the Government’s tightening of coronavirus measures in the Netherlands
Two officers patrol a near-empty street in the Witte de Witstraat, Rotterdam, earlier this evening following the introduction of new rules that require all catering outlets to be closed by 8pm
The last customers finish this food and drink at this restaurant in Rotterdam on the first day of tighter coronavirus restrictions in the Netherlands
Police officers are seen in The Hague, hours after 200 people there were blasted with water in a bid to disperse demonstrators
It comes after hundreds of Dutch protestors had a water cannon turned on them by police earlier today after they objected to the partial return of lockdown in the Netherlands as Covid cases continue to soar.
Dutch police blasted a group of around 200 people in The Hague with water in a bid to disperse demonstrators who had been throwing stones and fireworks in protest on Friday evening.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte, 54, was giving a press briefing to the media when protestors clashed with riot police and mounted officers outside the Justice and Security Ministry in the Dutch city.
In the clip, dozens of protestors can be seen sitting on the ground where they brace for impact as police turned the water cannons on them. As they turn their backs and shield one another from the barrage, officers spray them again.
Later that evening, after flares, projectiles and bicycles were thrown at police, officers were seen hitting fleeing demonstrators with batons as what started as a peaceful protest descended into chaos.
Although death remain low, the Netherlands recorded their highest ever daily infection count positive Covid cases on Friday as medics warned hospitals were being put under huge pressure amid a record-breaking surge of infections.
Referring to the ‘unpleasant’ return of lockdown measures from this Saturday, Rutte said restrictions that the Dutch people had thought had ended for good were being re-imposed for three weeks.
Hundreds of anti-lockdown protestors clashed with riot police in The Hague in the Netherlands on Friday evening as a raft of new lockdown measures were announced and due to come into force from Saturday
Meanwhile, Covid cases have tumbled in the UK over the past month, leading to prominent experts including ‘Professor Lockdown’ Neil Ferguson to share their optimism that the UK can avoid a return of ‘Netherlands-style lockdown’ restrictions this winter.
Infections have trended downwards since October 24, with independent tracking studies finding a 16 per cent weekly decline last week.
Daily cases rose week-on-week for the second day in a row today – up by a quarter on last week to 38,351 – but experts are hopeful this is a temporary effect of children returning to school after half term.
Hospital admissions for the virus have decreased for nearly a week straight, and are projected to fall even further in coming weeks. Another 145 coronavirus deaths were also registered on Friday in a 25 per cent decrease compared to the toll last week.
Speaking on BBC R4’s Today programme, Professor Ferguson said: ‘We might see slow increases as we did in October. I think it is unlikely we will get anything close to what we had last year, that catastrophic winter wave.’
The professor at Imperial College London told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘We’ve had two or three weeks of declining cases and admission to hospitals – that may be petering out, it is too early to say.
‘There is a hint of an uptick in the last few days.
‘But we are in quite a different situation from those European countries you are talking about (the Netherlands, Germany).
‘We’ve had very high case numbers – between 30,000 and 50,000 a day – really for the last four months, since the beginning of July.
‘That has obviously had some downsides. It has also paradoxically had an upside of boosting the immunity of the population compared with countries like Germany, the Netherlands and France, which have had much lower case numbers and are only now seeing an uptick.’
Coronavirus infections in the Netherlands have been rising for a month after most social distancing measures were scrapped in late September, and reached their highest level since July in the past week. Meanwhile, cases in the UK have trended downwards since October 24
Confirmed Covid cases have skyrocketed in the Netherlands in recent weeks, with a record-breaking 16,000 new infections recorded on Friday
Covid-related deaths in the Netherlands have been trending up since the start of November according to data, with hospitals put under strain
New regulations mean bars and restaurants will now be forced to shut at 8pm, major sporting events will remain behind closed doors and social distancing is to be reimposed immediately.
Supermarkets and non-essential retailers will also close earlier and social distancing measures will be re-imposed. The government recommended that no more than four visitors be received at home, effective immediately.
Cafes and nightclubs will have to close at 8pm from Saturday.
A group of around 200 anti-lockdown protesters gathered outside the government building in The Hague where Rutte was speaking. Several people were detained for setting off fireworks and throwing objects at the police.
Armed with placards, whistles and megaphones, protestors initially began with a peaceful demonstration but scenes eventually turned to chaos as bicycles, projectiles and road signs were being thrown and flares let off.
Meanwhile, similar action was taken in Austria on Friday evening after Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg announced plans to impose lockdown measures on unvaccinated members of the population.
In Linz, Austria’s third-largest city, hundreds of protestors lined the streets to rage at the prospective measures which would come into force from Sunday. 20 per cent of intensive care beds are being used by Covid patients in the country, according to Reuters.
And in Milan, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the nephew of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy, was pictured greeting anti-vaxxers and addressing a crowd of protestors as demonstrations against Covid jabs continue in the Italian city.
The Dutch government has also explored ways to restrict access to indoor venues for people who have not been vaccinated, a politically sensitive measure that would require parliamentary approval.
‘Tonight we are bringing a very unpleasant message with very unpleasant and far-reaching measures,’ Rutte said in a televised address on Friday evening. ‘The virus is everywhere and needs to be combated everywhere.’
Meanwhile, ‘Professor Lockdown’ Neil Ferguson has said that a Netherlands-style lockdown is ‘unlikely’ in Britain despite an ‘uptick’ in Covid cases in the UK.
The member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) said Britain’s situation is different from other European nations as the wave of infections seems to be peetering out.
On Friday, Boris Johnson warned of gathering ‘storm clouds’ over Europe and used the continent’s soaring epidemic as a warning of what’s to come if Britons don’t get their booster vaccines.
More than 200 protestors gathered outside the building where Dutch PM Mark Rutte was revealing the return of partial lockdown measures
An anti-riot police officer extinguishes a burning scooter in The Hague, the Netherlands after protestors clashed with police
‘I’ve got to be absolutely frank with people, we’ve been here before – and we remember what happens when a wave starts rolling in,’ Mr Johnson said during a visit to a pharmacy in South London.
The PM, who is currently embroiled in a Tory sleaze row, warned that Britain’s fate this winter hinges on how many people get their boosters. ‘What I’m saying today is the urgency of getting that booster jab is more evident than ever,’ he said.
‘If you can get it, it’s a great thing, the levels of protection it gives you are terrific and so over-50s, who we’re calling forward, should come and get it.’
But he added: ‘What I’m also saying is that if we don’t do it fast enough, we can see the potential risks to the state of the pandemic in what’s happening in other parts of Europe.’
Rutte’s latest move is a rapid escalation for the country after it reintroduced the use of face-coverings as mandatory in public places including gyms, museums and hospitality venues.
It comes as the Dutch government faced huge pressure over the controversial decision to impose a ‘corona pass’, which meant proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or recent negative coronavirus test was required for entry.
More than 40 per cent of bar and restaurant owners said they do not plan on asking customers to show their ‘corona pass’, as they fear the move is a ‘political tool’ that will ultimately damage the hospitality sector’s long-term recovery.
Coronavirus infections in the Netherlands have been rising for a month after most social distancing measures were scrapped in late September, and reached their highest level since July in the past week.
The new measures are meant to contain a surge in COVID-19 cases that is straining hospitals across the country.
New infections topped 16,000 for the second day in a row on Friday, beating the previous record of just under 13,000 confirmed cases in a day set in December last year.
Robert Kennedy Jr. addresses an unmasked crowd in Milan, Italy as protests continue over Covid vaccinations
In Linz, Austria’s third-largest city, hundreds of protestors lined the streets to rage at the prospective measures which would come into force from Sunday. 20 per cent of intensive care beds are being used by Covid patients in the country, according to Reuters
Similar protests were in Austria on Friday evening after Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg announced plans to impose lockdown measures on unvaccinated members of the population. Pictured: Crowds gathering in Linz
Caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte announces a new wave of partial lockdown measures from a press briefing in The Hague on Friday evening
Rutte instructed people to work from home whenever possible, and said no spectators would be allowed in the coming weeks to attend sporting events, including the Dutch soccer team’s World Cup qualifier against Norway on Tuesday. Schools, theatres and cinemas will remain open.
Friday’s announcement marked a dramatic change of policy for the Dutch government, which until last month had thought that a relatively high vaccination rate would allow it to further ease measures towards the end of the year.
Nearly 85% of the adult Dutch population has been fully vaccinated. Since the start of the pandemic, the Netherlands has recorded 2.27 million COVID-19 cases and 18,695 related deaths.
Less than two weeks ago, the Dutch health council advised the government to begin giving COVID-19 booster shots to everybody aged 60 and over, along with residents of nursing homes.
‘To get ahead of an increase in serious illness, the council advises the health minister to start offering boosters now,’ the experts said.
Meanwhile, the government has already begun giving booster shots to people with severely compromised immune systems.
Other European countries already have begun giving booster shots. France started giving boosters to people over the age of 65 two months ago.
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