Nations across Europe moved to reimpose tougher measures to stem a new wave of COVID-19 infections spurred by the highly transmissible omicron variant, including a new nationwide lockdown introduced by the Dutch government.
Schools, universities, and all non-essential stores, bars and restaurants in the Netherlands will be closed until Jan. 14 starting Sunday, caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Saturday night. Residents only will be permitted two visitors except for Christmas and New Year’s, when four will be allowed, he said.
“The Netherlands is going into lockdown again from tomorrow,” Rutte said, adding that the move was “unavoidable because of the fifth wave caused by the omicron variant that is bearing down on us.”
Before the Dutch announcement, alarmed ministers in France, Cyprus and Austria tightened travel restrictions. Paris canceled its New Year’s Eve fireworks. Denmark closed theaters, concert halls, amusement parks and museums. Ireland imposed an 8 p.m. curfew on pubs and bars and limited attendance at indoor and outdoor events.- READ MORE