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THIS country to go into strict lockdown as Omicron cases rise

source:androidtime:2023-12-07 12:34:57

The increase of Omicron variant cases has forced yet another country to impose stricter restrictions during the festive season as the Netherlands will go into a strict lockdown over the Christmas and New Year period to try to contain the highly- contagious Omicron coronavirus variant, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Saturday.

THIS country to go into strict lockdown as Omicron cases rise

All non-essential shops and services, including restaurants, hairdressers, museums, and gyms will be closed from Sunday until January 14. All schools will be shut until at least January 9.

THIS country to go into strict lockdown as Omicron cases rise

“The Netherlands is again shutting down. That is unavoidable because of the fifth wave that is coming at us with the Omicron variant," Rutte told a televised news conference. Other measures include a recommendation that households receive no more than two visitors and that gatherings outside are also limited to a maximum of two people.

THIS country to go into strict lockdown as Omicron cases rise

A failure to act now would likely lead to "an unmanageable situation in hospitals", which have already scaled back regular care to make space for COVID-19 patients, Rutte said.


LIVE: de #persconferentie van premier Mark Rutte, minister @hugodejonge en OMT-voorzitter Jaap van Dissel over de laatste stand van zaken rond de aanpak van het coronavirus ⬇ https://t.co/cGK738RBkG

— Mark Rutte (@MinPres) December 18, 2021


Infections in the Netherlands have dropped from record levels in recent weeks after the introduction of a nighttime lockdown late last month. The Omicron variant arrived as the country was already battling a wave in coronavirus infections.

Cases of the variant have surged since it was first found in the Netherlands three weeks ago, while hospitals are struggling with the large numbers of COVID-19 patients in their wards, near the highest levels this year.

Omicron is expected to become the most dominant variant of the virus in the Netherlands between Christmas and New Year`s Eve, leading Dutch infectious disease expert Jaap van Dissel said.

While more than 85% of the Dutch adult population is vaccinated, fewer than 9% of adults have had a booster shot, one of the lowest rates in Europe.

On Saturday the National Institute for Public Health (RIVM) reported a total of over 2.9 million COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, with 20,420 reported deaths. There were 14,616 new infections reported in 24 hours.