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Despite a call by authorities to stay home to avoid crowds, people flock to the city centres to get their last necessities before a severe lockdown is installed from Dec. 15 until Jan. 19. Photo: Niels Wenstedt/BSR Agency via Getty

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.

Go deeper

L.A. becomes first county to surpass 1 million coronavirus cases

COVID-19 mass-vaccination of healthcare workers takes place at Dodger Stadium. Photo: Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Los Angeles County officials said Saturday they had detected the county's first case of the highly transmissible coronavirus variant first found in the United Kingdom.

Why it matters: The announcement came as L.A. became the first county to surpass 1 million COVID-19 cases, straining the area's already overwhelmed health care system.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden readies massive shifts in policy for his first days in office.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.
  6. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.
Dave Lawler, author of World
3 hours ago - World

Alexey Navalny detained after landing back in Moscow

Navalny and his wife shortly before he was detained. Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny was detained upon his return to Moscow on Sunday, which came five months after he was poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok. He returned despite being warned that he would be arrested.

The latest: Navalny was stopped at a customs checkpoint and led away alone by officers. He appeared to hug his wife goodbye, and his spokesman reports that his lawyer was not allowed to accompany him.