Netherlands | Corona crisis

New lockdown takes effect

For the last time the Dutch, like here in Amsterdam, were able to enjoy the Christmas spirit, open shops and restaurants on Saturday. On Saturday evening Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced another strict lockdown, which came into force just a few hours later.
IMAGO / Xinhua
For the last time the Dutch, like here in Amsterdam, were able to enjoy the Christmas spirit, open shops and restaurants on Saturday. On Saturday evening Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced another strict lockdown, which came into force just a few hours later.

A new strict lockdown is in place in the Netherlands because of the Omikron variant of the coronavirus. Since Sunday at 5 a.m. almost all shops as well as restaurants, cultural and sports facilities, schools and hairdressers must remain closed.

The only exceptions are shops such as supermarkets and pharmacies, which are important for the supply. As a rule, each household is now only allowed to receive two guests. Only over Christmas and at the turn of the year are up to four visitors allowed as an exception.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte justifies the new lockdown with the extremely fast spread of the Omikron variant. "It is inevitable," Rutte said in The Hague on Saturday night. "We have to intervene to prevent worse." The lockdown is initially set to last until January 14 - well into the new year. There will be no curfew for the time being, Rutte promised.

So far, an"evening lockdown" has already been in place in Germany's neighboring country of about 17.5 million people. Most shops, restaurants and cultural and sports facilities had to close at 5pm. The seven-day incidence - the number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in seven days - was 617 in the Netherlands on Saturday, almost twice as high as in Germany.

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