Dutch MPs back night-time curfew plan

Dutch authorities will implement a coronavirus curfew between 9pm and 4.30am from Saturday onwards.
Dutch authorities will implement a coronavirus curfew between 9pm and 4.30am from Saturday onwards.

The Netherlands will impose its first night-time curfew since World War II in a bid to stop the spread of COVID-19 after a majority of MPs supported the emergency measure during a debate.

During the debate, a compromise proposal to have the curfew start at 9pm, half an hour later than Prime Minister Mark Rutte's government had originally planned, was supported by parties representing a majority.

The curfew will allow only people with pressing needs to leave their homes between 9pm and 4.30am local time from Saturday onwards and is expected to last until at least February 9.

Exceptions include medical emergencies, people who need to be outdoors to carry out essential jobs and walking of pets on a leash.

Violators can be fined 95 euros ($A149).

Schools and non-essential shops in the Netherlands have already been shut since mid-December following the closure of bars and restaurants two months earlier.

Infections in the Netherlands have decreased steadily in the past three weeks but health authorities say new variants of the novel coronavirus will lead to a fresh surge of cases by next month if distancing measures are not tightened.

Australian Associated Press