It prided itself on a successful ‘intelligent’ lockdown earlier this year, but criticism is growing in the Netherlands as infection rates near the top of European charts.
Statistics suggest 20-30 year olds are driving the flare, which is acute in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague.
On Sunday, the ECDC recorded the 14-day cumulative number of Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people as 345 in the Netherlands, with only Belgium and the Czech Republic higher. The UK’s cumulative case number stands at 242.
In a press conference on Friday, prime minister Mark Rutte was uncharacteristically prickly when urging 17.4 million Dutch people to follow the rules: a 10pm curfew for nightlife, facemasks advised in public spaces, three guests maximum in houses and an appeal to work from home.
“We aren’t keeping to the rules enough,” said Mr Rutte. “There are too many people, young people but also other groups, who think it will be okay for them. But it’s not okay: it’s completely predictable that if lots of young people are infected, they infect their parents and then their grandparents.”