The Netherlands has locked down for Christmas as it battles a wave of Omicron cases.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte described the decision as “unavoidable” if the Government wanted to prevent "an unmanageable situation in hospitals".
Gyms, bars and all non essential shops will close until 14th January, while households will be allowed to have two guests over at a time - rising to four between Christmas Eve and St Stephen’s Day and over the New Year.
“I can hear the whole of the Netherlands sighing,” Mr Rutte said.
“All this, exactly one week before Christmas. Another Christmas that is completely different from what we want.
"Very bad news again for all those businesses and cultural institutions that rely on the holidays.”
Dubliner Sinéad Cooney Mastenbroek, who lives in Rotterdam, told Newstalk:
“I was due to go out today to get my shopping but that’s not happening now, so it’s online if I can.
“I really don’t care about the bars and restaurants closing as we tend to socialise at home like the majority of Dutch people.
“My sister and family are due to sail over from Hull on Thursday so I’m hoping the Government doesn't close their borders again like last year - Christmas is not the same without your family!”
While Wicklow woman Dearbhla Ross, who recently moved to Groningen, said:
“There's just a general feeling of unease that there's going to be riots on top of it all,” Ms Ross explained.
“So it just adds to the anxiety. I'm actually home in Ireland for Christmas and thinking of staying here longer to avoid going back to that for as long as I can.”
85% of Dutch adults are vaccinated; however, only 9% have received a booster - one of the lowest rates in Europe.
Last month the Government introduced a curfew and case numbers dropped. However, the arrival of Omicron has left officials hugely worried and it is expected to become the dominant variant in the country by the New Year.
Main image: A man is swabbed for COVID-19. Picture by: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie.