The health experts advising the Netherlands’ government on COVID-19 strategy have recommended the country go into a “strict” lockdown, reports said days after a partial lockdown was extended through January.
Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said he had “big worries” about the quick spread of Omicron, which appeared just as a previous wave of infections in the Netherlands had crested.
“I won’t say what extra measures may be needed,” De Jonge said, adding that the government would follow the health experts’ advice.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s government is due to meet with the health advisers on Saturday ahead of a decision on new measures.
On Tuesday, the government had ordered that the 5 p.
to 5 a.
closure of bars, restaurants and most stores, introduced in late November, would continue until Jan.
In addition, primary schools were ordered to close early for the winter holidays, due to high infection rates among children.
Rutte said then that Omicron could be the dominant coronavirus strain in the Netherlands by January.
The National Institute for Health (RIVM) reported 15,433 new COVID-19 cases, down around 25% from a week earlier – but still above the peak of any previous wave.
The country’s strained healthcare system is postponing most routine care and cancelling all but urgent operations in order to cope with COVID-19 patients.
Dutch health experts advises full lockdown to slow Omicron