Sumary of Riot-hit Netherlands brace for new COVID-19 crisis:
- The Netherlands is set to tighten its partial lockdown on Friday to curb soaring coronavirus cases, as police prepared for possible new riots against the restrictions.
- New restrictions risk inflaming a tense situation after four nights of unrest across the country, particularly in the port city of Rotterdam where five rioters were shot by police.
- “We are keeping our eyes and ears open and we are prepared,” Rotterdam police spokesman Gijs van Nimwegen told AFP.
- “We hope things stay calm in Rotterdam and the rest of the Netherlands.
- ”Dutch hospitals have warned of critical bed shortages and canceled operations as wards fill with Covid patients.
- Protests have erupted in The Hague during the prime minister’s last two Covid press conferences, with police using water cannon to disperse demonstrators.
- Dutch media said Rutte is expected to announce the early closure of shops and catering — just two weeks after the government had already ordered them to close at 6pm and 8pm respectively.
- Health experts of the Dutch Outbreak Management Team reportedly believed a new closure of schools, as was the case at the start of the pandemic, would be harmful to children.