The Netherlands says it will do away with all remaining COVID-19 restrictions next week, even though there has been a recent surge in infections. Officials said that this is how the nation will learn to live with the virus.
On March 23, the Netherlands officially lifted the nationwide lockdown. Wearing masks on public transport is no longer mandatory, but masks will still need to be worn when flying and when going through airport security.
Effective immediately, the government is halting the use of a digital COVID-19 pass to enter nightclubs and other large-scale events. Previously, this pass was necessary to gain entry into these venues.
“It is possible and responsible to further relax” measures, national broadcaster NOS quoted Health Minister Ernst Kuipers as saying.
From the EU or Schengen zone, people who are flying to the Netherlands will no longer be required to show a COVID-19 pass upon arrival.
The Dutch celebration of the annual carnival weekend may have contributed to a recent increase in infections, which had been declining for weeks.
Nearly 21,600 people have died from COVID-19 in the Netherlands since the pandemic began in March 2020. About 85% of people 12 and over are fully vaccinated and 62% of Dutch adults have received a booster shot.