Over the last few weeks, Europe has once again become the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cases are increasing in most countries, followed by an increase in hospitalization – the vast majority of cases among the unvaccinated population.
Austria is set to impose lockdown measures on its unvaccinated population in the next few days as COVID-19 patients cross the threshold of occupying one-third of the country's intensive care unit beds. Now, the Netherlands has announced it is bringing back lockdown measures for similar reasons – Dutch hospitals are strained due to a rapid surge in cases and hospitalizations. This is the first lockdown measures in Western Europe since the summer.
The Netherlands' partial lockdown will take place from 6 pm local time on Saturday, November 13, and will last for three weeks, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced. Under the new lockdown measures, people will be encouraged to work from home and only have four visitors at home at one time. A mandatory 6 pm closing time will be issued for non-essential shops and services such as clothing stores and contact professions such as hairdressers and casinos. Restaurants, cafes, supermarkets, and drugstores will have to close at 8 pm.
Large events such as football matches will occur without spectators, but schools, cinemas, and theatres will not be subjected to the mandatory closing time and will stay open (although not at full capacity).
The country has witnessed over 10,000 cases a day for over a week, its deadliest week since May. According to the Dutch government, 84.4 percent of the country’s population has been fully vaccinated, although the percentage of people below age 40 who are fully vaccinated remains below 75 percent.
[H/T: De Telegraaf]