Netherlands goes into Christmas lockdown over Omicron Covid wave – BBC News

hello and welcome to the programme several european countries have introduced tough new restrictions to tackle covid as the omicron variant spreads rapidly across the continent a month-long lockdown has come into force in the netherlands denmark ireland and switzerland are all stepping up or reintroducing restrictions but they've stopped short of full lockdowns we start in the netherlands with this report from anna hulligan a final flourish of festive cheer before dark cities shut down for christmas department stores and toy shops weren't ready for this level of footfall while hair and beauty salon squeezed clients in for a last minute shave it was nice to go to the city for a little while before the lock down it's too busy everywhere but i have to come to get presents before the christmas holidays under the new measures outlined on saturday all non-essential stores bars restaurants and other public places are to shut from sunday essential shops such as supermarkets and pharmacies must close by 8 pm and as previously announced schools are closed until at least january the nines the prime minister delivered the message in a somber tone omicron is spreading even faster than feared and so he must intervene now to prevent much worse this is one of the most popular shopping streets in the heart of the hague and normally at this time of year it would be heaving the dutch prime minister said the response the omicron variant was unavoidable but the government's critics argued the crisis is partly of their own making the slow response to the delta variant combined with the slow rollout of the booster vaccination program which meant hospitals have no extra capacity to deal with an impending surge of omicron cases the dutch are seeking to speed up that booster program the over 60s have just been invited to get theirs and it's hoped that within a month everyone in the netherlands who wants a booster shot will have the chance to get one this is usually a highly organized society the dutch don't like chaos there is some good news father christmas will still be allowed to deliver presents his message to the nation merry christmas happy lockdown [Music] well here in the uk there's been a significant rise in the number of omicron cases with 10 000 confirmed on saturday the british health secretary says he does not rule out plans for more restrictions his comments follow advice from senior government scientists warning extra restrictions were needed within days to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed it's a very sobering analysis we take it very seriously as i said there are gaps in the data and our scientists of course they recognize that for example on on severity on hospitalizations but we will look at this data we will take into account other factors and then decide whether further action is needed or not you know if you if you wait until data is absolutely perfect it may well be too late and and that's the i think that's a central point that they're making well uh let's find out more about the lockdown in the netherlands sander it's a senior reporter with the tv program in vandaka well the people in the netherlands that i really can't handle it anymore because it was such a surprise and unpleasantly surprised for the people because because last tuesday we also had a press conference and during this press conference the prime minister said well we only have to close the elementary schools for a week just before christmas and now everything everything is closed the non-essential shops the bars the restaurants the gyms the outdoor sports activities the cultural venues everything is closed it's it's terrible and and it's the fact that it was a well such a surprise i suppose that there will that will have angered people as well yes yes it is for instance yesterday i i interviewed on live television a restaurant owner and she was busy preparing uh the christmas dinners and and well at that time she heard that there was no christmas dinner at her restaurant and she had to call all the people and she was really crying on live television it was terrible but there must be an understanding that this wave of omicron the rate at which it's expanding and spreading is so severe that something has to be done yes of course the prime minister said yesterday we have to prevent a worse worst case scenario and and this omicron variant is is is increasing as such uh uh well it's so terrible that that within two weeks he said uh if we do nothing uh the the the hospitals can't handle it anymore so yeah there is of course understanding but well people are well they really don't like this here it's it's hugely frustrating of course just ahead of crispus and everyone's plans uh being altered i know you mentioned it right at the beginning but could you just run us through exactly what the lockdown restrictions will mean now for people that means people can go to supermarkets and uh non-essential shops not possible bars not possible restaurants not possible you can't go to the gym you can't go and have an outdoor sport activity no cultural venues not to the museums all schools are closed until 14th of january and we have to wait until then if if maybe they can go open again but we don't know that

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