The Netherlands goes into a tough lockout for Christmas

The Hague, Dec 18 (Reuters) — The Netherlands will go into a tough lockout at Christmas and New Year, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Saturday as he tries to control the highly contagious Omigron corona virus variant.

The measures, which include the closure of all non-essential shops, restaurants, hairdressers and gyms, came into effect on Sunday. Up to 14 will be in effect. All schools are Jan. Closed until 9 p.m.

«The Netherlands is closing again. It’s inevitable that a fifth wave will come towards us with the Omigron variant,» Rutte told a television news conference.

Other activities include a recommendation that families should not have more than two visitors and that gathering outside should be limited to a maximum of two people.

Failure to do so now could lead to an «unmanageable situation in hospitals,» which has already reduced regular attention to creating space for COVID-19 patients, Rutte said.

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Report by Stephanie van den Berg and Bart Meijer; Editing Anthony Deutsch by Mark Potter, Catherine Evans and Frances Kerry

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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