The lockdown in the Netherlands is being extended by three weeks, until Feb. 9, the prime minister said in a press conference on Tuesday.
"Nearly everyone will understand that there was no other choice," Mark Rutte said, "because the numbers are not decreasing fast enough and we are also now dealing with the British coronavirus variant. And we are very concerned about that variant."
Rutte first announced the lockdown on Dec. 14, and said it would be in effect until at least Jan. 18. The lockdown is more stringent than anything implemented during the first wave, in spring 2020, when non-essential shops were allowed to remain open – They are now closed.
The number of coronavirus infections in the Netherlands are falling but still significant. There were 49,398 positive reported cases is the past seven days, Jan. 5 to 12, according to the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment.
That was a decrease from the 56,440 reported between Dec, 29 and Jan. 5.