Europe begins lockdowns as Omicron wave swells

The Netherlands over the weekend announced that it will commence a four-week hard lockdown amid a recent surge in COVID cases:

From the BBC:

Non-essential shops, bars, gyms hairdressers and other public venues will be closed until at least mid-January. Two guests per household will be allowed – four over the holidays.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the measures were “unavoidable”…

The new rules in the Netherlands – the strictest to have been announced over Omicron so far – come into force on Sunday.

“I stand here tonight in a sombre mood. And a lot of people watching will feel that way too,” Mr Rutte told a news conference on Saturday. “To sum it up in one sentence, the Netherlands will go back into lockdown from tomorrow”…

Strict limits will be placed on the number of people who can meet – a maximum of two guests aged 13 and over will be allowed in people’s homes, and four on 24-26 December and on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day…

Events are not permitted other than funerals, weekly markets selling groceries and professional sports matches with no spectators.

All schools will be closed until at least 9 January, while other lockdown measures will remain in place until at least 14 January.

Restaurants can continue to sell takeaway meals, and non-essential shops can offer click and collect services.

The lockdown decision comes amid a sharp rise in hospitalisations:

Netherland’s COVID cases and hospitalisations have surged despite its high vaccination rate, whereby 75% of the nation’s total population is fully vaccinated – only 1% less than Australia:

Meanwhile, Europe’s COVID cases are still running above last year’s peak:

This has led to a raft of new restrictions across the continent, largely targeted at the unvaccinated:

Hopefully Australia won’t suffer the same fate as the Netherlands.

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