Netherlands already spent billions in fight against coronavirus

Equipment set up in an intensive care unit
Equipment set up in an intensive care unitsudok1DepositPhotosDeposit Photos

Over the past few months the Netherlands already spent billions in the fight against the coronavirus, paying almost 1.5 billion euros for protective gear and other medical equipment, 700 million euros for coronavirus vaccines, and 300 million euros for tests, AD reports based on an interim change to the budget for the Ministry of Public Health, Welfare and Sports that was sent to parliament.

The bill for protective gear and medical equipment currently stands at 1.42 billion euros - 930 million euros for masks, 30 million euros for gloves, 300 million euros for insulating jackets, 10 million euros for protective glasses and weight aprons, and 150 million euros for approximately 4 thousand respirators. The government also earned 180 million euros from the sale of medical protective gear and equipment to healthcare providers.

The cabinet allocated 700 million euros for making sure that a vaccine is available to Dutch people as soon as possible. The Netherlands, Germany, France and Italy together bought 300 million vaccines from the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company Astra Zeneca. The exact costs involved in that purchase is unknown. Health Minister Hugo de Jonge will only answer questions about vaccine deals in confidential letters to parliament - letters that have since been made state secret because of "information that could seriously damage the interests of the Netherlands or its allies", according to AD.

And so far the government spent 300 million euros on testing Netherlands residents for the coronavirus. The government expects this amount to be enough to continue testing until September. 

Whether these amounts will increase is "unclear at the time of writing", De Jonge said to the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament.