Netherlands says Omicron is now dominant strain

Country's national health institute warns of rising hospital admissions as variant takes hold

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Omicron has become the dominant coronavirus variant in the Netherlands, the public health agency said on Tuesday, warning of increased hospital admissions.

Despite daily infections decreasing, with 9,213 positive tests reported on Tuesday compared to 11,495 the day before, the highly contagious strain "will lead to additional infections in the coming period", the National Institute for Public Health said.

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

The decision seemed to have a positive effect, with hospital admissions declining from 256 patients a week before to 191 patients this week, the institute said.

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

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

Updated: December 28, 2021, 8:27 PM