Coronavirus: Netherlands says Omicron now dominant strain

The highly contagious strain is believed to lead to additional infections in the coming period. PHOTO: AFP

THE HAGUE (AFP) - Omicron has become the dominant coronavirus variant in the Netherlands, the public health agency said Tuesday (Dec 28), warning of increased hospital admissions.

Despite infection rates going down with some 9,213 positive tests reported on Tuesday - compared to 11,495 a day before - the highly contagious strain "will lead to additional infections in the coming period," the National Institute for Public Health (RIVM) said.

"This will also increase the number of hospital admissions," it added in a statement.

The Netherlands announced a Christmas lockdown 10 days ago in an effort to stop surging cases of the Omicron variant, closing all non-essential shops, restaurants, bars, cinemas and museums until January 14.

But the decision seemingly had a positive effect, the RIVM said, with actual hospital admissions declining from 256 patients a week before to 191 patients this week.

"The real impact of the measures is expected to be visible in early January," the RIVM said.

More than 20 per cent of the Dutch adult population have received vaccine boosters by Tuesday, the agency added.

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