Sun, 09 May 2021

THE HAGUE, Netherlands: Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced the easing of the country's months-long coronavirus lockdown on Tuesday.

A nationwide 10:30 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. curfew will be ended April 28. At the same time, bars and cafes will reopen their outdoor terraces from noon until 6 p.m. - for the first time since mid-October.

Governments are being faced with the complex problem of its populations being fatigued from lockdowns and restrictions, even as there has been a rise in positive Covid cases.

In the Netherlands, positive cases rose last week by 5.3 percent to nearly 54,000.

Rutte has said he was cautiously easing restrictions since the infection curve is flattening and modeling shows that a decline in hospital occupancy is approaching.

"We really see the tension between the grim reality in the here and now in the hospitals and, at the same time, that cautious, optimistic outlook," Rutte said. "That tension is very great for the time being, and yet we dare to take this first step now. A step that is still very cautious and careful, because we can afford very few setbacks."

Also, it was announced by Health Minister Hugo de Jonge that the Netherlands would begin administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on Wednesday.

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