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Netherlands to go into Christmas 'lockdown' says Prime Minister

Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the measures are intended to try to stop a surge of the Omicron coronavirus variant.

Dutch PM Mark Rutte
Dutch PM Mark Rutte
Image: SIPA/USA PA Images

THE NETHERLANDS WILL go into “lockdown” over the Christmas period to try to stop a surge of the Omicron coronavirus variant, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said today.

All non-essential shops, restaurants, bars, cinemas, museums and theatres must shut from Sunday until January 14, while schools must close until at least January 9, Rutte said.

The number of guests that people are allowed in their house is also being cut from four to two, except for Christmas Day on December 25.

“I stand here tonight in a somber mood,” Rutte told a televised press conference.

“To sum it up in one sentence, the Netherlands will go back into lockdown from tomorrow.

“It is inevitable with the fifth wave and with Omicron spreading even faster than we had feared. We must now intervene as a precaution.”

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The head of the Dutch outbreak management team, Jaap van Dissel, told the news conference that the Omicron variant would overtake the Delta strain to become dominant in the Netherlands by the end of the year.

© – AFP, 2021

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