"Netherlands is closing down": PM announces strict, five-week lockdown
The Netherlands will enter a tough lockdown this week in one of Europe’s most restrictive attempts to curtail the spread of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in a televised address Monday.
Why it matters: As COVID-19 continues to make a comeback in Europe, countries have taken measures to reduce travel and risk of contact ahead of the holiday season.
- Cases in the Netherlands surged after Dec. 5 celebrations of Saint Nicholas’ birthday, despite the country's current partial lockdown, Reuters reported.
- The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in The Netherlands has almost doubled from Nov. 29 to Dec. 13, per AP.
Details: Starting Tuesday, daycare centers, gyms, museums, zoos, cinemas, beauty salons and other nonessential businesses will close until at least Jan. 19.
- Outside gatherings will be limited to two people, unless it's members of the same household.
- The government is also urging residents to limit the number of guests to their home to no more than two people. The rules will be relaxed Dec. 24-27 when three guests will be allowed.
- Schools must also switch to remote learning from Wednesday until at least Jan. 18.
- Supermarkets, banks and pharmacies will stay open.
What he’s saying: “The Netherlands is closing down,” Rutte said in announcing the new measures, per Reuters.
- “We realise the gravity of our decisions, right before Christmas,” he added as protesters banged pots and pans outside.
- “We have to bite through this very sour apple before things get better."
The big picture: The Netherlands is the latest European country to implement strict measures.
- Bars and restaurants in London and surrounding areas will be forced to close beginning Wednesday as the region is placed under England's highest alert for coronavirus restrictions.
- Germany is also set to go into a strict lockdown this week, with all nonessential stores, services and schools forced to closed.