The Netherlands will drop the last remaining COVID-19 restrictions next week

The Netherlands will drop the last remaining COVID-19 restrictions next week

The Dutch government says it will drop its last remaining COVID-19 restrictions on March 23, despite a recent rise in infections as the nation learns to live with coronavirus

The country has already completed a nationwide lockdown and scrapped most virus measures. From March 23, it will no longer be mandatory to wear face mask in public transport. Face masks will still have to be worn on planes and behind security screening at airports.

The government is also stopping the use of a digital COVID passport to get into nightclubs and other major events, the only place where they were still required.

“It is possible and responsible to ease further” measures, the national television station NOS quoted Health Minister Ernst Kuipers to say.

As part of the recent reductions, persons flying to the Netherlands from the EU or the Schengen passport-free zone will no longer have to show a COVID-19 passport on arrival.

New infections, which had been declining for several weeks, began to rise again after the Dutch celebrated the annual carnival weekend earlier this month with big street parties in many cities.

More than 21,600 people have died from COVID-19 in the Netherlands during the pandemic, which has now entered its third year. About 85% of the population aged 12 and over are fully vaccinated, and 62% of Dutch adults have received a booster shot.

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Follow all AP stories about the pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.

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