Dutch set to announce strict measures to rein in Omicron
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The Dutch government is expected to announce new measures Saturday to break the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant after its scientific advisers recommended tighter curbs, local media reported.
The government will brief the media at 1800 GMT on the outcome of an emergency meeting being held on Saturday afternoon.
According to the media reports, the panel of experts has called for a complete lockdown of businesses, with the exception of essential retailers such as supermarkets and pharmacies.
That would mean that the hospitality sector, non-essential stores, and the cultural sector would be closed, and the experts have also recommended that schools and colleges be shut.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced earlier this week that primary schools would close earlier for the Christmas holidays because of the Omicron variant.
Other restrictions in place since November 28, such as the closure of non-essential shops, bars, and restaurants between 5:00 pm and 5:00 A.M., were extended until January 14.
People are not allowed to entertain more than four visitors in their homes.
The measures have led to a decline in infections of 21 percent in the week from December 7-14, according to official health authority data.
The Netherlands also recorded a “slight decline” in hospital admissions, but authorities insisted that Omicron was still “a cause for concern”.
Nearly 86 percent of all adults in the Netherlands have been vaccinated.
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