European countries are set to shut down Christmas due to the rise of the Omicron variant.

Countries across Europe are making unprecedented efforts to combat a new wave of COVID-19 infections triggered by Omicron’s highly transmissible version.

From Sunday, Dec. 19, all schools, universities, non-essential shops, pubs, and restaurants in Holland will be closed until Jan. 14, Prime Minister Mark Rutte stated on Saturday, Dec. 18.

Rutte added that the decision was “unavoidable because of the fifth wave caused by the Omicron variant that is bearing down on us.”

Shoppers rushed to Holland’s city business centers in anticipation of stricter restrictions being implemented. In addition, they are concerned that it will be their last opportunity to purchase Christmas gifts.

Ministers in France, Cyprus, and Austria have expressed concern about strengthening travel restrictions before the Dutch move.

Due to breakouts of the Omicron strain, France has decided to cancel New Year’s Eve celebrations in Paris.

Theatres, symphony halls, theme parks, and museums in Denmark are all closed.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Omicron variant has been found in 89 countries. Moreover, cases of COVID-19 attributable to this variation are doubling every 1.5 to three days in regions where community transmission exists, not just among individuals infected abroad.

WHO noted that the current COVID-19 vaccine’s effectiveness against Omicron is unknown and whether the new variant will cause serious illness in many infected people.

However, Omicron has a “substantial growth advantage” over the Delta variety. Therefore, it has the opportunity to become the virus’s dominant form in the countries where it is spreading, the UN health agency stated.

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