Dutch court dismisses call to scrap 'corona pass' regulations

People protest against the new "corona pass", in The Hague

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - A Dutch court on Wednesday dismissed a call to scrap the 'corona pass' required to enter restaurants, bars, museums, theatres and other public places in the Netherlands.

The court in The Hague said the government had the right to demand proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or a recent negative coronavirus test to limit the spread of the coronavirus as most other social distancing measures were lifted last month.

It said the government had made it convincingly clear that unvaccinated people have a higher risk of a coronavirus infection and of infecting others.

It dismissed the claim by opponents that the 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.

The government introduced the corona pass late last month, despite strong opposition in parliament, as Prime Minister Mark Rutte said it was needed to prevent a new wave of infections. Workplaces are not included in the scheme.

New coronavirus cases in the Netherlands rose 2% in the week through Tuesday, to 72 per 100,000 inhabitants, while the number of new COVID-19 patients in hospitals remained stable at the lowest level in months.

(Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Catherine Evans and Philippa Fletcher)