20 Jan Dutch gov’t proposes first curfew since World War Two, flight bans
The Dutch government on Wednesday proposed imposing the first nationwide curfew since World War Two and a ban on flights from South Africa and Britain in a bid to limit the spread of new coronavirus mutations in the Netherlands.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the proposals must first be approved by parliament, which is set to debate the country’s toughest measures so far against the coronavirus this week.
The flight ban, which Rutte said also will apply to all South American countries, will begin on Saturday.
Rutte did not confirm a report earlier on Wednesday by Dutch news agency ANP, which had said the flight ban would be for all countries outside Europe’s 26-nation Schengen Area.
The curfew would allow only people with pressing needs to leave their homes between 8:30 p.m. and 4:30 a.m. local time as of Friday night, Rutte said.
Schools and non-essential shops have already been closed since mid-December, following the shutdown of bars and restaurants two months earlier.
This lockdown will remain in place until at least Feb. 9, Rutte said last week.
The introduction of the first night curfew since that imposed on the Dutch by German occupiers in World War Two is highly contentious, and various political parties have already said they will never back it.