Dutch set for toughest lockdown yet over Christmas: PM
The Netherlands is to go into its strictest lockdown since the coronavirus pandemic began, with schools and non-essential shops to shut for around five weeks over the Christmas period, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Monday.
Protesters could be heard whistling and shouting outside Rutte's office as he said in a televised address to the nation that action was necessary to stem a surge in Covid-19 cases.
"The Netherlands will close for five weeks," Rutte said. "We're not dealing with a simple flu like the people behind us think," he added, referring to the protesters.
People were advised to stay at home and could have only a maximum of two guests a day, Rutte said, adding that the measures would last until January 19.
All shops in the Netherlands except essential outlets like supermarkets, food stores and pharmacists must shut from Tuesday, while schools will close from Wednesday, he added.
Museums, zoos, cinemas and gyms must also close, Rutte said.
The Netherlands went into an "intelligent lockdown" in March during which schools shut down but shops stayed open, meaning that the new measures are the toughest since the start of the pandemic.