Schools, bars to close from today in the Netherlands, concern on movement from Belgium

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The Dutch government has announced that schools and childcare centers throughout the country will be closed from Monday. Schools will only be open for children of parents who have vital jobs, such as those working in health care or for the emergency services.

Bars, restaurants and sport clubs will also be closed down.

Pressure had been mounting on the Dutch government to take tougher measures, after Prime Minister Mark Rutte had said that schools would remain open in order to not burden parents.

Rutte will give a speech Monday evening to “address the difficult situation.”

National addresses by the prime minister are very unusual in the Netherlands — the last such address was in 1973 by former PM Joop den Uyl during the oil crisis.

The move is a u-turn on Friday’s position, when the government said that schools and daycare centres should remain open so that essential workers can continue to do their jobs.

Dutch health minister Bruno Bruins said in a televised news conference the move to close cafes and bars had been prompted in part by ‘undesirable’ tourism from Belgium, which borders Noord-Brabant, the region of the Netherlands with the highest concentration of coronavirus cases.

The death toll from coronavirus in the Netherlands rose to 20 on Sunday, the public health institute RIVM said in its latest update. Th eight overnight deaths involved people aged 59 to 94 and most had underlying health problems, the RIVM said. In total 162 people have been admitted to hospital, though the number who have been discharged is not known.

Read more via NL News/ Politico



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