Netherlands prepares for far-reaching coronavirus lockdown

The Netherlands is preparing to enter a far-reaching lockdown from Monday night at midnight until 19 January to curb the spread of Covid-19, Dutch public broadcaster NOS reports.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte is expected to address the nation at 7:00 PM ahead of measures including the closing of schools, non-essential stores, museums, hair salons and theatres, according to NOS.

The new rules will reportedly take effect from midnight to avoid a rush on stores on Tuesday. Both NOS and De Telegraaf are reporting that people will have to stay at home as much as possible.

The number of coronavirus cases in the Netherlands is increasing, with nearly 10,000 new infections per day according to Dutch media.

Hospitalisations in the country are also increasing, which is why extra measures are needed, Dutch coronavirus minister Hugo de Jonge said ahead of an emergency consultation on stricter measures.

As for Belgium, the Consultative Committee will meet on Friday to evaluate the coronavirus figures and assess the epidemiological situation. Belgium saw its daily new cases increase two days in a row on Sunday and Monday.