Netherlands to tighten measures against spread of COVID-19

The Dutch government on Monday announced new drastic measures to combat the renewed spread of the novel coronavirus.

The measures, starting 6 p.m. local time (1600 GMT) Tuesday, are aimed at limiting crowds and the number of social contacts between people without locking up the society and the economy and will last three weeks, Prime Minister Mark Rutte told a press conference here.

No spectators will be allowed at all sporting events, both professional and amateur ones.

Restaurants and bars must close at 10 p.m. local time (2000 GMT) and cannot let anyone in for the last opening hour. Meanwhile, a maximum of 30 people are allowed inside and 40 outside. People must register before receiving services such hairdressing.

In addition, working from home is more strictly enforced. Employers violating this rule will receive punishments such as temporary closure of the company, according to the government. In the three major cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague where high numbers of infections are registered, the government advises wearing masks in shops.

The novel coronavirus is regaining momentum in the Netherlands after the peak of the spread in March and April. The Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment said that until 10 a.m. local time (0800 GMT) on Monday 2,921 new COVID-19 infections were reported, compared with 2,996 on Sunday.