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Netherlands ban New Year fireworks over COVID-19 fears….

The Dutch government banned traditional fireworks over New Year, saying the ban would help hospital workers overburdened by the pandemic. New Year’s celebrations in the Netherlands are notoriously wild, with people setting off tens of millions of dollars worth of fireworks in back gardens and streets, often causing injuries.

“The sale and lighting of fireworks will face a one-off ban during the coming year-end,” the Dutch cabinet said in a statement. “This is to avoid extra pressure on already over-burdened care workers and to maintain public order,” it said. Although fireworks have been set off for centuries in the Netherlands, it has been particularly popular at New Year’s since the 1950s.

The Dutch fondness for fireworks turns streets to battlefields as rival groups of revellers fire them at each other, flooding emergency wards with people with burn injuries of missing limbs. Last year more than 1,300 people had to be treated for fireworks-related injuries.

“Even without the impact of coronavirus, there is always a heavy burden on first-aid workers and police over this time,” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said. “We are afraid that due to the ban some fireworks enthusiasts will turn to illegal fireworks” with lower safety standards, said the chairman of the Dutch Pyrotechnics Federation.


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