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Dutch government expected to extend lockdown by three weeks

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AMSTERDAM, Jan 12 (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 press conference at 7 p.m. (1800 GMT).

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

Coronavirus infections in the Netherlands have started to come down in recent days following the closure of all schools and most stores in December.

But 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, the NOS reported, but decided against it due to 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 Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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