THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte eased his country’s coronavirus measures Tuesday amid falling infection rates, allowing public venues including cinemas, museums and libraries to reopen — with limitations on how many people can visit — after a two-week closure.
The venues, which also include zoos and swimming pools, will be allowed to reopen at midnight Wednesday, Rutte said.
“The numbers we see are still too high, but the trend is downwards and that is positive,” Rutte said.
However, he warned that the country must remain in a partial lockdown he imposed in mid-October when Dutch rates of infections were among the worst in Europe. That means bars and restaurants will stay closed until at least mid-December and limits on the number of visitors people can have at home remain at three per day.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Netherlands fell over the past two weeks from 55.72 new cases per 100,000 people on Nov. 2 to 31.96 new cases per 100,000 people on Nov. 16.
Just over 8,600 people are confirmed to have died of COVID-19 in the Netherlands, though the true number is higher because not everybody who died of a suspected coronavirus infection was tested.
The Dutch easing came as many other countries in Europe remain in tough lockdowns amid high infection rates, although other countries also are beginning to see an easing in the rate of new infections.