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Dutch appeals court says coronavirus curfew was right move

AMSTERDAM — A Dutch appeals court said on Friday the government had been right to impose a night curfew in the fight against the coronavirus, overturning a lower court’s order which had caused confusion over the measure last week.

In a clear victory for the government, the appeals court said it had rightfully used emergency powers to install the curfew, the first in the Netherlands since World War Two, and had adequately proved that the measure was necessary to rein in the pandemic.

The district court in The Hague last week had ruled that the government had failed to make clear why emergency powers were needed at this stage of the pandemic, siding with anti-lockdown activists who had brought the case.

Friday’s ruling had little practical implications, as the government last week circumvented the order to scrap the curfew by rushing in a new law which gave it a sounder legal footing.

It also extended the 9 p.m.-4.30 a.m. curfew by at least three weeks, to March 15, as experts warned of an imminent new wave of infections.

The curfew sparked several days of rioting by anti-lockdown protesters when it was introduced on Jan. 23.

It is part of a lockdown in which bars, restaurants and non-essential stores have been closed for months.

New coronavirus infections in the Netherlands jumped around 20% in the week through Tuesday, data showed, while the total number of confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic surpassed a million earlier this month. (Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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