Netherlands to go into Christmas lockdown to curb Omicron spread

Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Saturday that Netherlands will go into a strict lockdown over the Christmas and New Year period to contain the highly contagious Omicron variant.

Measures including closure of all non-essential shops, restaurants, hairdressers and gyms, has gone into effect Sunday and will remain in place until January 14. All schools will be closed until January 9.

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.

Rutte said that failure to act now would likely lead to “an unmanageable situation in hospitals.

Infections in the Netherlands have dropped from record levels in recent weeks after the introduction of a nighttime lockdown late last month. Cases of the new Omicron variant have surged since it was found in the country three weeks ago.

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