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The Netherlands Announces Christmas Lockdown In Response To Omicron Threat

The Netherlands Announces Christmas Lockdown In Response To Omicron Threat

The Netherlands has introduced strict COVID restrictions in response to the rising Omicron variant.

Hannah Blackiston

Hannah Blackiston

The Netherlands has announced a strict lockdown over Christmas due to the threat of the Omicron Covid-19 variant.

Until at least mid-January, the country will close non-essential shops, bars, gyms, hairdressers and other public venues.

Two guests will be allowed per household, increasing to four over the holidays.

The lockdown comes as countries across Europe struggle to fight the variant and the new rules are the strictest across the region.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the restrictions were unfortunate but necessary.

"I stand here tonight in a sombre mood. And a lot of people watching will feel that way too," he said.

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

Residents are being urged to stay home as much as possible and only two guests aged 13 and over will be allowed in homes during the period, minus between 24-26 December and New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, when that will rise to four.

The only events allowed are funerals, grocery markets and sporting matches with no spectators.

"I can now hear the whole of the Netherlands sighing. This is exactly one week before Christmas, another Christmas that is completely different from what we would like," Rutte said.

But, Rutte said without these actions there would be an 'unmanageable situation' in hospitals across the country.

Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his country will not face another lockdown, despite a spike in cases, particularly in New South Wales.

Morrison said the case numbers weren't what mattered in the decision for another lockdown.

"What matters is hospitalisations, ICU, people on ventilators, and severe illness," he said.

"We have been planning for this. We planned to live with the virus. We didn't plan to remain shut in."

NSW has more than tripled its COVID cases over the last few days, recording 2501 cases this morning.

Victoria recorded 1302 and no COVID deaths, but is closing testing sites as they hit capacity.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has said he won't be implicating restrictions following the rise in COVID numbers, instead saying it's a personal choice.

"Case numbers are bound to rise, just as the modelling predicted, and we are all likely to have a close encounter with Covid," he said.

"This is not to be taken lightly.

"The safety of the community is and always will be our top priority, and if the trajectory of an outbreak appears likely to put our health system under excessive pressure, we will change our approach, tailoring it to the circumstances and the evidence.

"For now, that is not the case.

"It is time to shift the balance back to personal responsibility, because a strong, healthy society is built not on the dictates of government, but on the common pursuit of the common good."

Featured Image Credit: devi / Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: Omicron, covid, News, coronavirurs