Netherlands in for a hard lockdown; Almost everything closed til January 19: report
In his address to the nation on Monday evening, Prime Minister Mark Rutte will announce a far-reaching lockdown, in which almost everything will be closed until January 19, sources in The Hague told NOS. The measures will take effect at midnight, to prevent a run on shops on Tuesday.
The closure affects all non-essential stores like clothing stores and garden centers, contact professions like massage parlors and physiotherapists, and schools. Schools must close their doors from Wednesday and switch to online education, according to the broadcaster's sources.
The government is taking these drastic measures in an attempt to reduce the still sky-high number of daily coronavirus infections. On Sunday, Jaap van Dissel of public health institute RIVM told the government that the current pressure on intensive care units is alarming.
Last week Rutte said that the Christmas days will be "spared" from tighter coronavirus restrictions. Whether this is still the case with the RIVM reporting nearly 10 thousand new infections on Sunday, remains to be seen.
According to NOS' sources, Rutte will urge Netherlands residents to stay at home as much as possible and to not receive any guests. The setting of a curfew was discussed, but decided against.
The leaders of the parliamentary parties were invited to the Ministry of General Affairs, Prime Minister Mark Rutte's Ministry, at noon on Monday, so that they can be informed of the measures the government was planning.
"This also shows how extraordinary the situation is," political reporter Xander van der Wulp said to the broadcaster.