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‘The Netherlands is closing down’: Dutch PM broadcasts 5-week lockdown after spike in Covid infections

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has introduced the nation will go into lockdown for a minimum of the subsequent 5 weeks, with few concessions being granted for celebrations over the approaching Christmas interval.

Below the brand new lockdown – the nation’s second to date through the pandemic – all colleges and retailers will shut from Tuesday till January 18, whereas public areas and services together with daycare facilities, hairdressers, gyms, and cinemas are to shut till January 19. Pharmacies, grocery shops, and banks are allowed to stay open, although eating places and bars will not be. 

Rutte introduced the transfer in a televised handle on Monday as protesters demonstrating in opposition to Covid restrictions gathered exterior his workplace in The Hague. Two folks have been arrested, police later mentioned.

“The Netherlands is closing down,” Rutte introduced. “We understand the gravity of our choices, proper earlier than Christmas.”

The truth is that we aren’t coping with an harmless flu, as a few of these protesting exterior consider, however a virus that may attain anybody. 

Rutte additionally known as on the general public to limit their actions as a lot as doable, together with working from dwelling and never touring overseas till mid-March. “We now have to do all the things to get to a greater place,” he added. “And sure, it is going to get higher.”

Whereas gatherings are to be restricted to not more than two folks as of Tuesday, this component will likely be loosened barely subsequent week, with three grownup guests allowed in properties for 3 days at Christmas. 

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The Netherlands has seen a spike in instances for the reason that conventional gift-giving December 5 vacation celebrating St Nicholas. Releasing new weekly figures over the weekend, well being officers mentioned the rise in new infections was a “trigger for concern,” as over 1 / 4 extra new instances (43,103) have been reported over the previous seven days than have been recorded through the earlier week (33,949). 

On Sunday, Dutch officers introduced that new infections had jumped by nearly 10,000 within the earlier 24 hours – the most important such enhance since October. The nation has recorded over 630,000 instances so far within the pandemic, and greater than 10,100 deaths.

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