Dutch Court Strikes Down Curfew in Blow to Pandemic Fight

A Dutch court struck down a critical part of the Netherlands’ push to contain the coronavirus, complicating the government’s containment efforts and prompting a push for a rapid appeal.

A court in The Hague ruled Tuesday that the country’s curfew must be lifted immediately, though the suspension was postponed pending the outcome of an appeal Friday, following an emergency appeal by the government of Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

“A suspension of the curfew will have serious consequences,” Rutte said Tuesday, asking Dutch residents to abide by the curfew even if the court ultimately doesn’t adhere to the government’s request. “If the curfew is based on an erroneous judicial footing, it doesn’t mean the measure isn’t necessary.”

The curfew was imposed on the basis of an emergency law that allows the Dutch government to act without consulting parliament. The court ruled that the current situation doesn’t represent such an emergency.

Rutte two weeks ago extended the Netherlands’ curfew until early March, warning of an “inevitable third wave” of infections because of the advance of a fast-spreading strain detected in Britain.

While the appeal will take place on Friday, a final court ruling will take several more days, ANP news agency reported.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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