Les Pays-Bas retournent en confinement Amsterdam, district around the Westerkerk (Photo: Kamanasish Debnath, CC BY-SA 4.0)

The Omicron variant of Covid

, while as dangerous as the Delta variant, is worrying because of its rapid spread.

If we refer for example to the figures communicated by Santé Publique France, the number of cases has doubled in France in one week. According to the agency’s data, the total number of cases rose from 172 on December 11 to 347 on December 17. The United Kingdom, for example, is also seeing an explosion in the number of Omicron cases.

The wave of Omicron cases is therefore resulting in a new turn of screw in European countries. They hope to slow down its progression and above all to avoid the saturation of public health facilities.

Last country to take a radical measure of containment, the Netherlands applies since December 19th a strict, total containment. The country’s Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, said Saturday that the Netherlands was going into strict containment over the Christmas and New Year period. In an effort to contain the variant of the Omicron coronavirus.

“The Netherlands is closed again. This is unavoidable because of the fifth wave that is coming to us with the Omicron variant,” Mark Rutte stressed at a press conference on national television.

All non-essential shops and services, including restaurants, hairdressers, museums and gyms, are closed until January 14. Outdoor gatherings must be limited to a maximum of two people. While individuals can only have two visitors outside the home.

“If we don’t act now, we may end up with an unmanageable situation in hospitals, which have already cut back on routine care to make room for COVID-19″ patients, Rutte stressed on television.

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Ireland takes hybrid measures

Elsewhere in Europe, Ireland is enforcing semi-containment: pubs and restaurants now close at 8pm. Indoor events such as conference rooms, theatres and cinemas must apply a lowered capacity of 50%.

For foreign travellers, a negative test is required to enter the country. Only people who have been vaccinated or cured of Covid can have an antigen test (48 hours maximum). All other travellers must have the result of a PCR test (72 hours). Finally, all visitors entering Ireland must have a daily antigen test for the first 5 days during their stay.