A court in The Hague has ordered the Dutch government to immediately end an overnight curfew designed to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country that had not seen a curfew since World War II.
A judge ruled that the 9 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. curfew breached the right to free movement and that the government misused its emergency powers.
The court ruling marked a victory for the campaign group Viruswaarheid (Virus Truth), which has led protests against COVID-19 restrictions while promoting conspiracy theories regarding the virus.
For the Dutch government, which imposed the curfew last January, the ruling was a major blow.
The government immediately appealed the ruling, asking for the curfew to stay in place until an appeal on Feb. 19.
A higher court later granted the government’s appeal, saying that it wanted to prevent a “yo-yo effect” where no one was certain if the curfew remains in place or not.
“Curfew applies, even tonight. The coronavirus is not yet under control. It remains important to stay at home, to meet as few people as possible, and to adhere to all measures, such as curfews,” Prime Minister Mark Rutte stated in a tweet.
The Dutch health ministry reported 2,735 new COVID-19 cases on Feb. 16.
Data from Johns Hopkins University showed that the total number of COVID-19 cases in the Netherlands has reached 1,049,120.
The Dutch health ministry also reported 88 deaths on Feb. 16, bringing the total number of deaths to 19,929.
Meanwhile, a total of 800,905 vaccines has been administered so far.
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