- As authorities battle coronavirus infections, the Dutch govt ordered elementary schools to shut a week early for the Christmas holidays on Tuesday.
- Beginning December 20, Rutte said, school vacations will be extended from two to three weeks.
The Dutch government ordered elementary schools to close a week early for the Christmas holidays on Tuesday as authorities battle coronavirus infections amid fears of the new omicron variant’s rapid spread.
Mark Rutte, the country’s caretaker prime minister, also extended the country’s existing lockdown until January 14, saying the government must be prepared for the new variant.
In a nationally televised news conference, Rutte stated, “Of course, that is not the good news you hope for at Christmas time.” “So, yes, a letdown, but perhaps not a major surprise.”
Beginning December 20, Rutte said, school vacations will be extended from two to three weeks. In a recent coronavirus outbreak in the Netherlands, young children had the highest infection rates.
Since implementing lockdown measures last month, the surge has subsided slightly. Since November 28, bars, restaurants, and other public gathering places such as theatres and cinemas have been closing at 5 p.m. and will now have to do so throughout the holiday season.
According to Rutte, the continued high pressure on the healthcare system, combined with the looming threat of the omicron variant, necessitated action.
“We don’t know much about it yet,” he stated, “but this new variant is spreading much faster than the current delta variant.”
Positive tests decreased by 21% over the previous week to 116,477, according to the country’s public health institute’s weekly coronavirus update. Hospital admissions decreased by 10%, while intensive care units decreased by 4%.
However, the institute did warn that the omicron variant is likely to cause more infections, which could lead to more hospital admissions.
Hugo de Jonge, the country’s health minister, said the booster campaign would be accelerated so that by the second half of January, every adult who wants a booster shot will be able to get one.
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