Bars, cafes, and all however essentially the most important shops will shut within the Netherlands till mid-January, because the nation goes into arduous lockdown in a bid to gradual the unfold of the Omicron variant.
The brand new restrictions have been introduced by the federal government on Saturday night, after an emergency assembly of Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s cupboard that afternoon. The lockdown was really useful by the federal government’s Outbreak Administration Group.
“A sudden press convention on Saturday, 4 days after the final one, doesn’t point out something good,” Rutte stated throughout a televised briefing, earlier than delivering the unhealthy information: “The Netherlands goes again into lockdown, it shuts once more.”
As of Sunday morning, all shops, providers, and hospitality venues will shut till January 14, save for a number of important retailers like supermarkets and pharmacies. Bars and cafes will shut, and eating places will present take-out meals solely. Colleges, a lot of that are already completed for Christmas, will shut their doorways.
Formally, these celebrating Christmas at house will probably be topic to restrictions, too. All through the lockdown, a most of two guests per family will apply. Exceptions will probably be made for Christmas Day and New Yr’s Eve, the latter a day sometimes celebrated within the Netherlands with drinks, events, and residential fireworks.
The Netherlands has been underneath partial lockdown since late November, with face masks required in most settings and “non-essential places” compelled to shut between 5pm and 5am. Nevertheless, the brand new restrictions mark the sharpest curbs on freedom and socialization because the nation entered a tough lockdown this time final 12 months.
Whereas the typical variety of new circumstances reported on daily basis has fallen from a file 22,450 in late November, the nation continues to be clocking a mean of 15,000 new infections on daily basis, up from just below 10,000 the final time the nation went into arduous lockdown. Deaths, nonetheless, haven’t elevated to match the caseload, with 50 deaths reported on Saturday, across the identical day by day determine as a 12 months in the past.
And whereas the brand new measures are ostensibly being taken to curb the unfold of the extremely transmissible and apparently vaccine-resistant Omicron variant of Covid-19, early knowledge means that this new variant causes considerably milder signs than earlier strains.
The Netherlands is just not the one European nation to reimpose restrictions over the variant, nonetheless. Within the UK, ministers will reportedly suggest a post-Christmas lockdown to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and in Denmark, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has introduced a raft of recent restrictions on shops and hospitality venues. In Eire on Friday, the federal government introduced earlier closing instances for pubs and eating places to final till the top of January.