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Dutch parliament backs plans for a 9pm-4.30am COVID curfew

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By Euronews
In this Monday July 20, 2020, file photo Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte arrives for an EU summit in Brussels.
In this Monday July 20, 2020, file photo Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte arrives for an EU summit in Brussels.   -   Copyright  Stephanie Lecocq/AP
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Dutch MPs have tonight backed government plans for a nighttime curfew amid fears over the impact of new COVID variants.

The restriction, set to come into force on Saturday, will run from 9 pm to 4.30 am.

Medical experts have warned the government of the Netherlands that the more contagious COVID-19 variants are so serious that extra restrictions are necessary, according to prime minister, Mark Rutte.

But some opposition lawmakers angrily denounced it as an excessive restriction of liberties.

Geert Wilders, leader of the largest opposition party, slammed the proposed curfew saying Rutte was making the public "bleed for his own failure" to control the spread of the virus.

Rutte's proposal will see the Netherlands become a “police state," Tunahan Kuzu from the Think party said.

Other MPs wanted the government to focus on coronavirus lockdown measures that were already in place like the guideline for people to work from home where possible.

The comments, which were made at a parliamentary debate, were in line with mounting resentment towards restrictions against the virus that has claimed the lives of over 13,000 people in the Netherlands.

The government is in office in a caretaker mode after its members resigned amid a child welfare benefits scandal, so it had to secure the green light from a majority of lawmakers to introduce the curfew.

Parliament approved the curfew on the condition that it would start at 9 pm and not 8.30 pm as the government initially wanted.

The Netherlands will now join the likes of France, Belgium, Italy, Greece and some areas of Germany in introducing the night-time restrictions.