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THE HAGUE: European governments on Friday eyed unpopular Covid curbs, with the Netherlands opting for Western Europe's first partial lockdown of the winter as EU experts said 10 countries in the bloc were causing "very high concern".

Dutch premier Mark Rutte announced at least three weeks of lockdown measures targeting restaurants, shops and sporting events to curb a record spike in coronavirus infections.

The "annoying and far-reaching" measures came as the EU's diseases agency said 10 countries in the 27-member bloc faced a Covid situation of "very high concern", warning the pandemic was worsening across the continent.

In its weekly risk assessment, the European Centre for Disease Control listed Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland and Slovenia in its highest category of concern.

Since it emerged in China in December 2019, the coronavirus has killed over five million people and caused economic devastation around the world. Europe is facing a sharp deterioration in the epidemic situation, especially in Germany and central and eastern Europe. Non-vaccinated people are the most affected.

Announcing his country's partial lockdown, Rutte told the nation the crisis required a "hard blow of a few weeks because the virus is everywhere, throughout the country, in all sectors and all ages".

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