13 Jul 2021

Covid-19: Dutch PM Rutte 'sorry for easing restrictions too soon'

10:21 am on 13 July 2021

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has apologised for "an error of judgement" in scrapping most coronavirus restrictions in the country.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte speaks during a press conference in The Hague after the resignation of his cabinet.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. Photo: AFP

The easing three weeks ago led to infection levels surging to their highest this year as nightlife resumed for large numbers of young people.

Curbs on bars, restaurants and nightclubs were reimposed on Friday.

Previously Rutte had refused to take any blame for the opening up, describing it as a "logical step".

On Saturday, the country's public health institute reported more than 10,000 new Covid cases, the highest number in a single day since December.

But so far this has not translated into a significant increase in hospital admissions, as most of the new cases are among young people.

More than 46 percent of the Netherlands' adult population - mostly from older age groups - is fully vaccinated. More than 77 percent have received at least one dose.

Rutte's apology comes as countries across Europe face rising numbers of cases of the Delta variant.


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