Netherlands begins strict lockdown over Omicron wave

The new measure caused a pre-Christmas shopping spree, with long lines forming in many stores over the weekend

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Echo24, Czech News Agency
People walk down a street in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

The Netherlands began its strict lockdown on Sunday, which the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said was almost inevitable during the fifth wave of the Covid-19 epidemic due to the Omicron variant.

The measure will be valid during the Christmas holidays and will last until Jan. 14.

Rutte said the measures were “unavoidable.” However, he did not announce the exact conditions of the lockdown. They probably will follow current measures ordering the closure of bars, restaurants, and other places where people gather, between 5:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.

“I stand here tonight in a somber mood. And a lot of people watching will feel that way too. To sum it up in one sentence, the Netherlands will go back into lockdown from tomorrow,“ Rutte told a news conference on Saturday.

In many Dutch cities, lines formed at stores on Saturdays as people tried to buy goods unavailable in regular supermarkets. Many customers in Leiden described long lines at, for example, luxury cosmetics shops.

Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment reported over 15,400 new infections in 24 hours on Friday. Although it is 25 percent less than a week earlier, it is still much more than during the previous wave.

Due to the increase of patients with Covid-19 infections, Dutch hospitals have been forced to postpone routine care, and there are fears of overcrowding in medical facilities.

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