All non-essential retailers should shut till January 14 and gatherings are restricted to 2 individuals.

The Netherlands will go into a troublesome lockdown from Sunday morning to restrict a feared COVID-19 surge as a result of Omicron variant, Prime Minister Mark Rutte mentioned.

Rutte advised a information convention on Saturday that each one non-essential retailers, eating places, bars, cinemas, museums and theatres should keep shut till January 14, whereas faculties should shut till a minimum of January 9.

Solely retailers thought-about important – comparable to supermarkets and pharmacies – are exempt from the orders.

The variety of visitors that persons are allowed of their home can be being lower from 4 to 2, aside from Christmas Day.

Gatherings exterior are additionally restricted to a most of two individuals.

“I stand right here tonight in a sombre temper,” Rutte mentioned. “The Netherlands will return into lockdown from tomorrow. It’s inevitable with the fifth wave and with Omicron spreading even sooner than we had feared. We should now intervene as a precaution.”

Rutte mentioned the announcement builds on a partial lockdown already in drive that requires bars, eating places and different public gathering locations comparable to cinemas and theatres to shut at 5pm.

A failure to behave now would possible result in “an unmanageable scenario in hospitals”, which have already scaled again common care to create space for COVID-19 sufferers, Rutte mentioned.

The top of the Dutch outbreak administration crew, Jaap van Dissel, advised the information convention that the Omicron variant would overtake the Delta pressure to grow to be dominant within the Netherlands by the tip of the yr.

The World Well being Group (WHO) mentioned on Saturday the Omicron variant is spreading significantly faster than the Delta pressure in nations with documented group transmission, with the variety of circumstances doubling in 1.5 to a few days.

The extremely mutated variant is spreading quickly in nations with excessive ranges of inhabitants immunity, the WHO mentioned, however it’s unclear if that is as a result of virus’s capability to evade immunity, its inherent elevated transmissibility or a mixture of each.