THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The Dutch government announced Monday it is extending the country’s curfew until March 3, declaring that was necessary to slow the spread of the more infectious coronavirus variant first detected in Britain.
The curfew was to have expired Wednesday.
Justice Minister Ferd Grapperhaus said the decision was made after a team of experts that advises the government “urgently warned” ministers at a meeting Monday about the more infections variant.
The country’s 9 p.m.-to-4:30 a.m. curfew was introduced Jan. 23 and triggered days of riots in towns and cities across the Netherlands. However, the unrest has since subsided and the vast majority of residents adhere to the curfew.
The 7-day rolling average of daily new cases in Netherlands declined over the past two weeks, from 30.68 new cases per 100,000 people on Jan. 24 to 23.05 new cases per 100,000 on Feb. 7.
However, the country’s public health institute has repeatedly warned that the more infectious variant is spreading more rapidly and will lead to an increase in infections and hospitalizations.
Last week, Prime Minister Mark Rutte extended most of the country’s tough lockdown measures, already in force since mid-December, until March 2.
Rutte said last week that infections are “slowly but surely” declining, but went on to warn that “all calculations point to a third wave that seems inevitably to be bearing down on us, the main cause of which is the British variant.”
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