The Netherlands will effectively shut down at night for three weeks, starting Sunday, in an attempt to stop the spread of coronavirus and relieve pressure on the healthcare system.
From 5 p.m. to 5 a.m, non-essential shops, restaurants, bars and cultural venues will have to close. Supermarkets can stay open until 8 p.m.
Face coverings will be mandatory for many students and teachers, and social distancing will be mandatory in all public places.
In a press conference brought forward by a week due to the worsening situation, Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said: “The number of positive test results reported over recent weeks is extremely high,” adding that “the hard truth, unfortunately, behind the numbers is that over 70 percent of patients ending up in the intensive care are unvaccinated.”
As cases have surged and with medical staff struggling to cope, hospitals throughout the country have had to cancel non-critical operations.
Dutch medical experts warned of a “Code Black” situation, with medical staff needing to choose which patients to treat and which not to treat.
Despite the country having a 72 percent double-vaccination rate, an average of 47 patients are admitted to intensive care per day, according to the Dutch agency for disease control and prevention (RIVM).
The RIVM has reported an average of 22,258 daily positive cases over a seven-day period.