Netherlands: Coronavirus case increase 'worrying' says Rutte
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The court in the Hague ruled today that the measure lacked a legal basis and violates people’s personal freedoms. Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s caretaker government immediately appealed the decision, insisting the restriction is needed to fight the pandemic. The court said the “curfew must be lifted immediately” and ministers had abused their emergency powers.
“The curfew is a far-reaching violation of the right to freedom of movement and privacy, and indirectly limits, among other things, the right to freedom of assembly and demonstration,” the court said.
It added: “The curfew is based on a law for emergency situations, where there is no time for debate with parliament.
“There was no such pressing need in this case. Far-reaching measures such as these need to be based on proper laws.”
Campaign group Virus Truth brought the case after the curfew, which is in effect from 9pm to 4.30am until March 2, was introduced.
They said: “We fight for the preservation of a democratic constitutional state in which our children still have the opportunity to develop themselves in freedom and to live a life with their own beliefs and opinions.”
Mr Rutte argued that the restrictions were needed to prevent a sudden surge of infections due to more infectious mutant coronavirus strains.
He told reporters: “It would be very unwise to lift the curfew at the moment.
“We installed it in order to control the coronavirus as much as possible and to make it possible to regain our freedom in a safe way.”
The PM said his government was working on emergency laws to strengthen the legal basis for the curfew and urged everyone in the Netherlands to respect containment measures.
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He added: “It is really very important that we limit our social contacts as much as possible because of the risk of transmission of the virus.
“So please do that. Do it for yourself, but also for each other.”
The curfew, the country’s first since World War Two, sparked several days of rioting by anti-lockdown protesters when it was introduced late last month.
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Bars, restaurants and non-essential stores have been shut for months under orders to curb the spread of the virus.
According to the latest figures, the Netherlands has had over one million confirmed coronavirus cases and almost 15,000 deaths.
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