Dutch Safety Board investigates gov't response to coronavirus crisis
The Dutch Safety Board will investigate the government's response to the coronavirus epidemic in the Netherlands. The different phases of the crisis and response will be investigated, from start to finish, a spokesperson for the Safety Board (OVV) said to NOS.
In the investigation, special attention will be paid to vulnerable groups in society who were faced with the disappearance of their regular care when the coronavirus crisis hit the Netherlands. But medical procedures and the government's economic support measures will expressly not be part of this evaluation, the spokesperson said.
The Dutch government has taken various measures since the outbreak of the coronavirus, to try and curb its spread and not overload the healthcare system. On March 9th, the government announced that handshakes are no longer allowed. A day later in Noord-Brabant, which was hit hardest by the virus, all major events were canceled. On March 15, restaurants and cafes were ordered closed, followed by schools and childcare institutions a day later. On March 23, gatherings were banned and Prime Minister Mark Rutte officially started referring to an "intelligent lockdown".
The measures seemingly had an effect, as coronavirus cases started to fall. On Wednesday, the government released a step-by-step plan on how the Netherlands will ease out of the intelligent lockdown.
OVV chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem said in a latter to Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security that the Safety Board already started preparing for such an investigation. He stressed that when approaching parties, investigators will take into account the fact that the fight against the coronavirus is still ongoing.
It normally takes the Safety Board about a year to complete a thorough investigation, but as this file is so large and complex, the investigation into the coronavirus response may well take longer, the OVV spokesperson said to NOS.