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Dutch to impose social restrictions to curb covid-19 surge


A new round of socialrestrictions will be announced by the Dutch government onTuesday evening, including the possible closure of cafes andrestaurants, as the Netherlands battles to control thecoronavirus in one of Europe’s major hotspots.
The number of cases in the country of 17 million has surgedin recent weeks to a daily record of nearly 7,000 on Monday. Itnow has one of the highest per capita infection rates worldwide.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s government has been loath tore-impose tougher restrictions that could hurt a fragileeconomic recovery, but has come under pressure from healthexperts to take action to prevent overloading the healthcaresystem.
Rutte and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge, who have bothwarned restrictions would follow if conditions did not improve, are scheduled to give a televised news conference at 1900 localtime (1700GMT).
While many of its European neighbours imposed compulsoryrestrictions, the Dutch have largely stuck to recommendedguidelines, including on mask wearing and travel.
Among the most severe measures expected to be announced onTuesday evening are the closure of cafes and restaurants and anevening ban on alcohol sales, national broadcaster NOS reported,citing government sources.
Team sports for people aged over 18 will be halted, usingpublic transport limited to essential travel only and homegatherings restricted to three people per household, the NOSreport said.
The measures will be imposed for an initial period of twoweeks, the NOS said.(Reporting