Last Friday, the Dutch prime minister waved away criticism that easing pandemic restrictions in the Netherlands was a bad idea. On Monday, he apologized. Mark Rutte, the PM, and Hugo de Jong, the health minister, insisted last week that relaxing coronavirus at the end of June was the right call. Then cases started to rise, Politico reports. Lockdowns were lifted June 26, and once Dutch bars and restaurants reopened, cases jumped astronomically, from 1,000 in a week in late June to 7,000 in a single day last week, Reuters reports.
"Partly because of the Delta variant, infections are rising very fast," Rutte said. He explained that with the information he had from experts at the time, relaxing restrictions looked possible. “We made an error of judgment there, we regret that, and apologize for that." He also apologized for the tone and content of the Friday press conference, Netherlands News Live reports. (Read more coronavirus stories.)