Netherlands: Trade routes empty after new restrictions

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The trade routes in the Netherlands are closed and the citizens’ plans for the Christmas holidays are in the air as the country is in a state of lockout with the aim of limiting the expected increase in the number of coronavirus cases caused by the spread of the Omicron variant.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced the surprise lockdown yesterday afternoon, enforcing the closure of unnecessary shops as well as restaurants, hairdressers, gyms, museums and other public places from today until at least January 14th.

The news shocked many Dutch people who were preparing for the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Many were those who rushed yesterday to get gifts and food but also to get a last minute haircut.

Hospitality workers are claiming compensation for lost profits during the holiday season, while gym owners are stressing the need for physical activity during a health crisis.

“Closing all the bars and restaurants in such an important month is extremely painful and dramatic. We need compensation and an exit strategy,” said the Dutch Hospitality Association.

All schools will be closed one week earlier for the Christmas holidays, ie tomorrow Monday, and will be closed until at least January 9, while households are required not to receive more than two visitors and outdoor gatherings are also limited to two. people.

The number of cases in the country has dropped from record levels in recent weeks after a night lockdown was imposed late last month.

But the cases due to the Omicron variant have increased rapidly since the beginning of December and this variation is expected to be the most prevalent by the end of the year.

This will be a serious blow to hospitals, which have been canceling regular care for weeks in an effort to avoid a shortage of hospital beds due to the high number of COVID-19 patients.

The government announced yesterday that it will speed up the release of booster doses of the vaccine after a slow start of the vaccination campaign and now aims to vaccinate anyone over 60 by the end of the month.

Although more than 85% of Dutch adults are vaccinated, less than 9% of adults have so far taken the third dose, one of the lowest rates in Europe.

source: ΑΠΕ

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