Netherlands issues 'code red' alert as heavy snow closes COVID testing centres

·1-min read

Heavy snow and strong winds have led the Netherlands to issue its first "code red" nationwide weather alert in nine years.

Trains from neighbouring Germany, where conditions are also treacherous, have been suspended.

All Dutch coronavirus testing facilities were closed on Sunday, while train services were cut to a minimum, supermarket deliveries cancelled and professional football matches scrapped.

Amsterdam city council decided to close all canal locks, in the hope that ice skating might be possible later in the week.

The government asked people to stay at home as the KNMI weather institute warned of up to eight inches (20 centimetres) of snow, and icy winds gusting to 56 miles-an-hour (90kmh).

It is feared that snow drifts could form on roads, further reducing visibility.

A broad COVID-19 lockdown is already in place, in which non-essential stores, restaurants, bars and other public
places have been closed for weeks.

In Germany, rail operator Deutsche Bahn suspended services to the Netherlands - and some long-distance domestic routes - as forecasters warned of "extremely heavy drifting snow".

In Berlin and Hanover, temperatures fell to -7 degrees Celsius (19F).

The freezing conditions are in a band running from Muenster in the west to Saxony in the east, with an area to the south of Hanover being hit hardest.

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