19 more coronavirus patients die, 292 more cases diagnosed

Gurneys in a hospital corridor
Gurneys in a hospital corridorSimpleFotoDepositPhotosDeposit Photos

Another 19 people who tested positive for coronavirus died in the Netherlands since Monday, Dutch public health agency RIVM announced. It brings the total number of fatalities in the coronavirus crisis to 43.

The RIVM also said on Tuesday that another 292 people tested positive for the virus, a 21 percent increase which raised the country's total number of patients to 1,705 since the first patient was discovered on February 27. Some 314 required hospitalization, the RIVM said. Nearly 100 were in intensive care, according to one Dutch medical association.

Roughly 23 percent of those infected work in the healthcare field. The RIVM said that part of the reason there were more reported infections in this field is because those workers are tested more frequently.

There were 634 patients known to be living in Noord-Brabant. Another 197 were reported in Limburg, and 175 in Zuid-Holland, the RIVM said.

On Monday evening, Prime Minister Mark Rutte addressed the nation regarding the situation around the Coronavirus. He said that the Netherlands' strategy, pending a vaccine, is to control the spread of the virus as much as possible. The aim is to get low-risk groups infected and recovered, so that herd immunity can be built up against Covid-19. The full text of his address can be read here

The government also announced that restaurants and other catering businesses, including coffee shops, can reopen - but only for takeaways and deliveries. 

A hotel on the Portuguese island of Madeira was placed under quarantine on Tuesday, after a Dutch tourist tested positive for Covid-19, NOS reports based on information from local authorities. The Dutch woman arrived on Thursday and stayed in hotel Quinta do Sol in Funchal, the island's capital. As far as is known, this is the first coronavirus case on the island. All 120 hotel guests are now quarantined in the hotel. 

On Tuesday, the Dutch association of pediatricians AJN called on parents to take their children for their regular vaccinations. "We see that many parents cancel the appointments for fear of infection or not to infect another," Jeanne-Marie Hament of AJN said to NOS. "But if we don't continue to vaccinate, we run the risk that other diseases will also develop, such as whooping cough or measles." This is especially important for newborns and young children, Hament said. 

The vaccination consultation centers are doing everything they can to work as safely as possible. Appointments are limited to the medically necessary, and are also spread out as much as possible so that waiting rooms remain as empty as possible. "Vaccinations are crucial for public health and necessary for herd immunity," Hament said.

A Covid-19 information line set up by the Red Cross on Monday, received around 2,400 calls in one day. "Especially older people call the number," a spokesperson said to NOS, adding that they mostly want to talk or need advice. "Can I still walk the dog? Can the home hairdresser still come? Can I still go shopping? These are the practical questions we get," the spokesperson said. "If someone cannot do their own shopping, but is digitally literate, we can explain how they can do this online. We will try to solve it with the social environment first."

In order to keep kids now stuck at home learning and entertained, NPO is launching an educational kids' talk show. Zapplive Extra is an education alternative that will feature educational shows and experts to answer kids' questions.

Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb of Rotterdam wrote a letter to kids in his city and the rest of the Netherlands, calling them to do their best to stick this out. "If we all stick to the rules, that helps enormously. I'm counting on your help!" Aboutaleb said, according to NU.nl. 

The police warned that scammers are using the coronavirus to target elderly people. They pretend to be a nurse or offer to go buy their groceries, and then take off with their victims' cards and PIN. "Never give away your debit card or PIN!" the police said on Twitter. 

The coronavirus is having a major impact on Dutch businesses. It's brought flower exports to a near standstill, and the Ministry of Social Affairs received over 48 thousand requests from companies for working time reduction for their employees. KLM requested 70 percent working time reduction for all workers, saying it has to reduce its flights to 10 to 20 percent of the normal schedule. 

The European Union will allow Member States to temporarily grant direct subsidies or tax benefits up to 500 thousand euros to support companies affected by the virus, EU Commissioner of Competition Margrethe Vestager said on Tuesday. Governments may also grant state guarantees for bank loans and they may subsidize loans. These measures around state aid will take effect within a few days, NOS reports.