The Netherlands going into strict lockdown: Is UK next?

Dec 18, 2021

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There is breaking news out of The Netherlands today where the government just announced a strict lockdown in an effort to contain a major surge of the new COVID-19 omicron variant. Caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in a hastily called news conference, “I stand here tonight in a somber mood …The Netherlands will go back into lockdown from tomorrow,” adding the new restrictions were “unavoidable.”

The U.K. and France are also reportedly considering new restrictions as the new variant spreads across Europe and the U.K. France has already canceled all major public parties and fireworks displays for New Year’s Eve.

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Under the new rules that go into effect Sunday, Dec. 19, non-essential shops will be closed until mid-January. Schools, bars, restaurants and other public facilities will also be shut.

Everyone is asked to stay home as much as possible. There are also strict new rules on groups. A maximum of two guests are allowed into people’s homes (that doesn’t include those under 13). The only exceptions are on Dec. 24-26 and New Year’s Eve when the limit is raised to four guests.

Omicron is expected to become the dominant variant in the Netherlands during the holidays.

The United Kingdom is also mulling lockdown

Meantime, there are reports the U.K. is also considering a lockdown, among other measures.

According to the Financial Times, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was presented with a range of plans yesterday,  with reports a full lockdown is among the options.

There is also a proposal for a so-called “circuit breaker” that would ban indoor meetings for two weeks after Christmas, according to the U.K.’s Times newspaper.

Johnson has insisted he does not want to “close things down” again.

Just yesterday, the U.K. reported more than 90,000 new coronavirus cases as the omicron variant spreads like wildfire.

Current travel restrictions for Americans

Red light district in Amsterdam the Netherlands at night Photo by Nisangha/Getty Images
Red light district in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, at night. (Photo by Nisangha/Getty Images)

Related: The Netherlands to require boosters beginning in February

As of publication, Americans can still enter the Netherlands if they are fully vaccinated or qualify for one of the EU Entry Ban Exemption Categories.

Restrictions for the Netherlands have changed throughout the year. During the summer, U.S. visitors were allowed to travel with fewer restrictions. In September, the Netherlands reversed course on requiring quarantines.

Related: Country-by-country guide to coronavirus reopenings

The U.S. State Department’s advisory for the Netherlands is Level 4: Do Not Travel and the CDC’s advisory for the country is Level 4: Very High Level of COVID-19.

Featured photo by Alexander Spatari for Getty Images.

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