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Saturday, December 09 2023

Dutch PM announces ‘actual end’ of Covid lockdown

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The Hague: With fresh Covid-19 cases on the decline, the Dutch government has announced a new easing of coronavirus restrictions effective from June 5, which according to Prime Minister Mark Rutte means the “actual end of the lockdown.”

“If the sky does not fall down and the corona figures do not rise again, almost all sectors will open fully again on Saturday, June 5,” Rutte told journalists here on Friday.

The Netherlands has been in a lockdown since December 15, 2020, reports Xinhua news agency. In mid-April, the government announced its plan to relax the Covid restrictions in successive steps.

According to the original plan, step 3 was to be launched on June 9, but the government has brought this date forward to give restaurants and museums “an extra weekend,” according to Rutte.

The new measures allow people to host a maximum of four people in their home (two previously) per day, and get together with a maximum of four people from different households outdoors.

Museums, monuments, cinemas, music venues and theatres can now reopen under certain conditions. Outdoor sports activities can be practiced by a maximum of 50 people, restaurants and bars can stay open again between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.

Calling it a “responsible but exciting step” and a “big moment,” Rutte emphasised that everyone must continue to adhere to the basic rules. The Netherlands has so far registered 1,637,466 coronavirus cases and 17,592 deaths.

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