All non-essential outlets should shut till January 14 and gatherings are restricted to 2 individuals.
The Netherlands will go into a tricky lockdown from Sunday morning to restrict a feared COVID-19 surge because of the Omicron variant, Prime Minister Mark Rutte mentioned.
Rutte instructed a information convention on Saturday that every one non-essential outlets, eating places, bars, cinemas, museums and theatres should keep shut till January 14, whereas faculties should shut till not less than January 9.
Solely outlets thought of important – equivalent to supermarkets and pharmacies – are exempt from the orders.
The variety of friends that individuals are allowed of their home can also be being minimize from 4 to 2, apart from Christmas Day.
Gatherings outdoors are additionally restricted to a most of two individuals.
“I stand right here tonight in a sombre temper,” Rutte mentioned. “The Netherlands will return into lockdown from tomorrow. It’s inevitable with the fifth wave and with Omicron spreading even sooner than we had feared. We should now intervene as a precaution.”
Rutte mentioned the announcement builds on a partial lockdown already in drive that requires bars, eating places and different public gathering locations equivalent to cinemas and theatres to shut at 5pm.
A failure to behave now would doubtless result in “an unmanageable scenario in hospitals”, which have already scaled again common care to create space for COVID-19 sufferers, Rutte mentioned.
The pinnacle of the Dutch outbreak administration workforce, Jaap van Dissel, instructed the information convention that the Omicron variant would overtake the Delta pressure to change into dominant within the Netherlands by the top of the yr.
The World Well being Group (WHO) mentioned on Saturday the Omicron variant is spreading significantly faster than the Delta pressure in nations with documented group transmission, with the variety of circumstances doubling in 1.5 to 3 days.
The extremely mutated variant is spreading quickly in nations with excessive ranges of inhabitants immunity, the WHO mentioned, however it’s unclear if that is because of the virus’s capability to evade immunity, its inherent elevated transmissibility or a mixture of each.