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Netherlands ends social distancing and announces "Covid passport"

Netherlands ends social distancing and announces “Covid passport”

The Hague | On Tuesday, the Netherlands announced the easing of restrictions linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, including ending social distancing, and creating a “Covid passport” to enter bars, restaurants and festivals.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the passport, which will show evidence of vaccination, recovery from coronavirus or a negative test, will be required for people aged 13 or older from September 25.

Pollution rates are falling in the Netherlands, which at the start of the pandemic had some of the loosest restrictions in Europe, but then tightened during the deadly second wave.

“I am pleased to announce today that from September 25 the mandatory social distancing of 1.50 meters will be abolished,” Root said in a televised press conference. This means that more people can go to the cafe or restaurant at the same time. It also means that festivals and sporting events can once again be held at full capacity.”

He also stressed that health passports are “already in use in many neighboring countries”.

In France, one of the first European countries to implement this famous passport, it helped speed up vaccination against COVID-19.

The Dutch government has dismissed criticism from opponents such as populist and controversial politician Thierry Baudi, who has said the passport is a way to enforce vaccination.

“No, using a coronavirus passport does not force a person to be vaccinated. You can also take tests to be able to enter a place, and at the moment they remain free,” according to Health Minister Hugo de Jong.

However, wearing a protective mask remains mandatory on public transport and airports, but not on trains or on tram platforms.

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