In the Netherlands, the government isn’t responding to the reality of COVID-19. Instead, officials are responding to a possible reality in the future.
Dutch lawmakers made the decision last week to implement a draconian lockdown, complete with a 9 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. curfew — the first one enacted in the Netherlands since World War II, according to Slate. The anger is motivated, at least in part, because the government made the decision to implement the strict lockdown and its accompanying curfew despite the fact that COVID-19 cases are falling in the Dutch country.
For context, as Reuters reported, documented infections in the Netherlands have been steadily declining now for weeks. There were just under 4,000 new COVID-19 cases reported Tuesday, marking the smallest daily increase since late November.
The government, nevertheless, pushed forward with this unprecedented step because of the more contagious strain of COVID-19 beginning to spread around the Netherlands. So far, there is zero evidence to suggest “these variants cause more severe illness or increased risk of death,” according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Since the implementation of the lockdown Saturday, the Netherlands has seen its worst riots across 10 cities in nearly half a century. Rioters have blown up a pedestrian bridge, they’ve looted stores and restaurants, and have sparked mayhem in streets around the country. While the streets have been quieter over the last 24 hours or so, the country is remaining on high alert.
Schools and “non-essential” businesses across the Netherlands have been shuttered since mid-December and bars and restaurants have been closed for months.
According to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, there are 979,631 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 13,924 deaths in the Netherlands.