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Dutch court says government has right to demand ‘corona pass’ despite widespread protests

Dutch court says government has right to demand ‘corona pass’ despite widespread protests
A Dutch court has given its backing to the government, dismissing a call to scrap the Netherlands’ corona pass which is required to enter restaurants, bars, museums, theatres, and other public places.

On Wednesday, a court in The Hague said the Dutch government had the right to demand citizens show proof of their Covid-19 vaccination or a recent negative coronavirus test result if they wished to enter certain public places. 

The court noted that the government had made it unequivocally clear that people who weren’t vaccinated were more at risk of catching Covid-19 and passing it on to others.

The ruling throws out a claim from people against vaccine mandates, as well as anti-vaxxers and others, represented by lawyer Bart Maes, who said the government’s Covid pass rules discriminated against those unwilling or unable to be vaccinated. “So far, it is not clear that there is a difference in treatment for which no objective, reasonable reason exists,” the court said. 

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The government’s regulations mandate the pass across a range of public places, including restaurants, bars, museums, and theatres. Workplaces are not included within the scheme.

The corona pass was introduced in September by the government of Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who claimed it was needed to prevent another wave of infections. New Covid-19 cases rose 2% in the week to Tuesday, with some 72 per 100,000 inhabitants.

The move has been widely opposed by many despite high vaccination rates across the country. Thousands took to the streets to protest the measures, while the deputy economic affairs minister, Mona Keijzer, was sacked from the cabinet for expressing her opposition to the government’s policy.

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