The Dutch government intensified a partial coronavirus lockdown on Tuesday in a bid to further slow the spread of coronavirus, ordering the closure of cultural and leisure facilities and urging citizens to drastically reduce their movements.
“Stay at home as much as possible,” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in The Hague. “Do not go shopping for fun.”
Three weeks after restaurants and bars were closed, the shutdown was extended to museums, theatres, swimming pools, amusement parks and zoos.
In addition, the government has urged citizens to refrain from travelling abroad until mid-January.
No more than two people are allowed to meet in public in the Netherlands under the new, tougher rules, down from a previous limit of four.
In the home, people are banned from having more than two guests on any given day.
The stricter measures are to remain in place for two weeks initially.
Rutte noted some progress in bringing infection rates down. “But this is certainly not enough,” he said.
On Tuesday, the number of new infections recorded over a one-day period fell below 8,000 for the first time in almost three weeks.
The daily rise was 7,776, according to the RIVM public health institute. This was 529 fewer cases than the previous day.
However, Dutch hospitals still face intense pressure as the number of patients requiring intensive care rises markedly, according to authorities.
Some hospitals have already had to close operating theatres and stop admitting new patients.