The government of the Netherlands announced a new overnight lockdown to tighten its Pandemic regulations. The state is battling a record-breaking Covid-19 surge, as hospitals face a ‘code black’ scenario.
The Dutch government has ordered that all restaurants and bars will close at night starting Monday. Non-essential shops will also be shut down from 5pm to 5am. The Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that masks would be needed in secondary schools and that anyone who is capable of working from home should do so.
Acknowledging that numbers of new cases of the deadly virus have been “high, higher, highest” on a daily basis, the politician said previous “Make small changes,” including the reintroduction of face masks, were not enough to stem the record-breaking Covid wave. Despite 85% of the country’s adult population being vaccinated, the surge in the Netherlands is said to be the worst in Western Europe.
Over 20,000 new infections were reported every day for the last week. Official instructions were given to hospitals to delay all other non-emergency operations including heart and cancer patients. Some people who are seriously ill were transferred to Germany because there was an urgent need for more Covid-19-infected patients in ICUs.
Freeing wards and ICU beds for patients badly infected with coronavirus, the country’s healthcare system is preparing for a ‘code black’ scenario, in which doctors may be forced to choose who lives and dies, due to lack of physical resources to treat everyone who needs care. “These are difficult decisions that hospitals already have to make.” the chairman of a medical board in Rotterdam, Peter Langenbach told local media.
Covid has been in the news this month and is expected to continue to threaten the Dutch healthcare system. However, Omicron, an Omicron-supermutant variant was just discovered. The World Health Organization (WHO) has officially declared the B.1.1.529 coronavirus strain a new variant of concern. It was first detected in Botswana, South Africa.
READ MORE: Omicron’s spread across Europe: First confirmed case and dozens more suspected
Global travel bans were enacted quickly due to growing concerns about the Omicron variant. It comes alongside news of Covid-19 test results from passengers just recently arrived from South Africa to Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. At most 61 out of 600 arriving passengers tested positive for the virus.