At least seven people were injured as rioting flared during protests against Covid restrictions in the Netherlands.
Ahmed Aboutaleb, mayor of Rotterdam, called it “an orgy of violence” and said police had needed to draw their weapons to defend themselves as rioters rampaged through the city centre, setting fires and hurling missiles and fireworks at officers.
Calm was eventually restored early yesterday after riot police and a water cannon were deployed. It comes as a number of countries across continental Europe consider new restrictions, including mandatory vaccinations and lockdowns, as cases reach worrying levels.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will make an announcement on Tuesday on future plans but has warned an extension of Scotland’s vaccine passports, currently only required at nightclubs and mass events, to restaurants, cinemas and theatres is being considered.
The requirement for confirmation of a negative test before entry is also being discussed.
The Dutch government has said it wants to introduce a law that would allow businesses to restrict the country’s Covid pass system to only people who are fully vaccinated or have recovered from coronavirus, which would exclude people who test negative.
The country has seen record numbers of infections in recent days and a new partial lockdown came into force a week ago.
A senior World Health Organisation official said yesterday he was extremely worried about the spread of Covid within Europe as the Continent battles a fresh wave of infections.
Dr Hans Kluge, WHO regional director, warned 500,000 more deaths could be recorded by March unless urgent action was taken. He said measures such as mask wearing could help immediately. Dr Kluge added mandatory vaccinations were a last resort.
Austria on Friday became the first European country to announce vaccination would become a legal requirement, with the rules to come into force in February.
Many other European countries are also imposing new measures as cases rise. German Health Minister Jens Spahn has described the situation there as a national emergency.
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