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Dutch government expected to extend lockdown by three weeks – broadcaster…

FILE PHOTO: Nursing home employee Sanna Elkadiri receives the first Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in the Netherlands, in Veghel, Netherlands, January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw/Pool

Reuters . Tue, January 12, 2021, 2:15 PM GMT+1
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – The Dutch government is expected to announce a three-week extension of COVID-19 lockdown measures on Tuesday evening, national broadcaster NOS reported.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte was scheduled to announce the latest social curbs to fight the coronavirus pandemic during a live news conference at 7 p.m. (1800 GMT).

Citing government sources, NOS said the lockdown would be lengthened through the first week of February instead of being lifted on Jan. 19.

Coronavirus infections in the Netherlands declined by 12% in the week through Tuesday, to 49,398, Dutch health authorities said, marking the second consecutive week in which cases fell.

“The falling numbers are the first effect of the lockdown that went into effect on Dec. 15”, the National Institute for Public Health said.

All schools and many stores across the country were shut in mid-December, following the closure of all bars and restaurants two months earlier.

Although the infection rate has dropped, the number of new daily cases remains too high to consider easing restrictions, Rutte said last week.

His cabinet had considered imposing an evening curfew, NOS reported, but decided against it because of opposition from regional officials.

Last Wednesday, a Dutch nurse became the first person in the Netherlands to receive a COVID-19 shot as the European Union’s last national vaccination programme got off to a late start.

(Reporting by Anthony Deutsch and Bart Meijer, Editing by Mark Heinrich and Timothy Heritage)

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