The Netherlands will enter a new lockdown, starting from Sunday (19), in an effort to contain the large number of Covid-19 cases caused by the Ômicron variant of the coronavirus.
In this announcement on Saturday (18), Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the restriction should last at least until January 14.
The Netherlands is shutting down again. “This is inevitable because of the coming fifth wave with a micron variable,” Ruti said at a news conference.
All non-essential stores, bars, restaurants and other public places must remain closed. Schools will also not have in-person classes starting on Monday (20).
The decision was made after a government meeting with health experts, who recommended the restrictive measure.
On Saturday, the country’s public health agency reported a total of more than 2.9 million cases of Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, and 20,420 deaths. On Saturday alone, 14,616 new cases were recorded.
The Dutch hit stores this Saturday as they prepared to spend Christmas in lockdown with all stores closed.
Residents already expected the restrictions to be announced. The Dutch health minister said authorities were “extremely concerned” about the Ômicron formula.
The main shopping street of Nijmegen, 120 kilometers from Amsterdam, was crowded with people looking for last minute gifts.
“Obviously, I’m not the only one who thought it was best to shop today,” said Fimky Boss, 21, as she searched for a birthday present.
City authorities in the port city of Rotterdam have recommended consumers via Twitter to stay home because the city center is “too crowded”.
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