WORLD NEWS: Netherlands reissue order to wear face masks
Faced with the sharp rise in coronavirus cases, the acting Prime Minister of the Netherlands has said the Dutch government is restoring the order to wear face masks in public places like shops and libraries and making an extension of the use of COVID-19 passes.
COVID-19 cases have been increasing rapidly in the Netherlands for weeks.
The country’s public health institute reported on Tuesday that infections were up 39% from the previous week and hospital admissions were up 31%.
The upward trend began shortly after the government lifted most of the remaining foreclosure restrictions in late September.
“It will come as no surprise that we have a difficult message again tonight,” Prime Minister Mark Rutte said at a nationally televised press conference.
“Hard because unfortunately we have to ask for more people now that the number of infections and the number of hospitals are increasing rapidly.”
Mr Rutte also urged people to socially distance themselves, work from home at least half the time, and avoid going to high-traffic areas and during morning and evening rush hours.
Under the new restrictions, students will be required to wear face masks at school when walking between classes.
New mask rules and requirements for COVID passes to be displayed in more public places, including museums and theme parks, are expected to come into effect on Saturday.