Netherlands announces lockdown amid surge in Omicron cases

WION Web Team
The Hague, Netherlands Published: Dec 18, 2021, 11:57 PM(IST)

The Netherlands Photograph:( Reuters )

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The lockdown is set to extend over Christmas and will last until January 14, the Netherlands government said.

The Netherlands government announced today that it would go into a lockdown from Sunday amid a rise in Omicron variant cases.

"I stand here tonight in a sombre mood. To sum it up in one sentence, the Netherlands will go back into lockdown from tomorrow," PM Mark Rutte said.

Also Read: 'Major incident', declares London mayor Sadiq Khan amid Omicron threat

The lockdown is set to extend over Christmas and will last until January 14, the government said. All non-essential shops and restaurants have been ordered to close with cinemas and bars shut.

"It is inevitable with the fifth wave and with Omicron spreading even faster than we had feared. We must now intervene as a precaution," the prime minister said.

Watch: Switzerland tightens covid curbs, Denmark imposes new restrictions 

The country's health minister had earlier expressed concern over the Omicron variant in the country. Reports claimed people went out on Saturday to do their last-minute shopping with the lockdown expected to be announced even as authorities in Rotterdam asked people to stay home.

The authorities had earlier closed primary school ahead of schedule due to the Omicron threat. The government has already put restrictions on bars, shops and restaurants ordering them to close by 5pm.

Also Read: Omicron will outpace Delta in community transmission, says WHO

The authorities have also barred more than four visitors from visiting homes. The move comes even as 86 per cent of the people have been vaccinated.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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