'Do not come here': Antwerp urges Dutch people to stay away

'Do not come here': Antwerp urges Dutch people to stay away
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Now that the Netherlands has gone back into a full lockdown, the governor of Antwerp Cathy Berx is urging the Dutch not to cross the border to go Christmas shopping in Belgium.

Belgian municipalities and cities just along the border - mainly in the Antwerp and Limburg provinces - were overrun by Dutch people last weekend, after the Netherlands unexpectedly went back into lockdown on Saturday.

"Do not cross the border to come to a bar or restaurant. Do not come shopping here now either," Berx urged on Monday.

The borders between the Netherlands and Belgium remain open, but Berx asked the Dutch to abide by the measures as they apply in their own country.

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"The pressure on the healthcare system remains high and the infection rate must be further reduced, especially with the advancing Omicron variant. We do not yet know enough about the effects of this," she said. "I ask the Dutch to grit their teeth. Afterwards, they are welcome again, but this is not the time to come here."

Organisations who are bringing party buses from the Netherlands to Belgium, as gatherings are still allowed and bars are still open, are also being urged to stop doing so.

Consultation with the Netherlands will happen soon to take the necessary steps, according to Berx.

In the meantime, experts and politicians remain divided about whether another lockdown is also necessary for Belgium. On Wednesday, the Consultative Committee will meet to discuss possible stricter measures.

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