Dutch and EU citizens as well as legal residents arriving in the Netherlands from the United States will be told to spend 14 days in home isolation in order to prevent possible new cases of coronavirus infection, the Cabinet confirmed on Thursday. The new measure was decided due to the “large increase in the number of coronavirus infections in New York, but also more broadly in the United States,” Prime Minister Mark Rutte confirmed after a meeting of the Ministerial Crisis Management Committee.
Airlines are only allowed to give vouchers in return for a canceled flight if the passenger agrees. If not, the canceled ticket must be refunded, European Commissioner for Transport Adina Valean said. With that she threw a spanner in the works of Dutch Infrastructure Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen's plan to allow airlines to compensate passengers with vouchers.
Mona Keijzer, the State Secretary for Economic Affairs in the Netherlands, responded by asking the public to accept the vouchers as a way of supporting the embattled travel industry.
The Dutch government is willing to contribute up to 1 billion euros to a yet-to-be-established European fund aimed at dealing with the coronavirus, Minister Wopke Hoekstra of Finance said. Countries hit hard by Covid-19 and that are not in good financial health can turn to the fund to finance medical aid. "I am thinking roughly of a few hundred million to 1 billion euros," Hoekstra said to NU.nl on Wednesday.
Members of parliament have shown broad support for Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus, although some MPs assert that more ought to be done. This comes as the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch Parliament, convened on Tuesday to debate the government’s current efforts to tackle the ongoing crisis, and its path forward.
A "flattening" of the Covid-19 infection curve may be starting to show itself, Jaap van Dissel of public health institute RIVM said to parliament on Wednesday. The number of coronavirus patients reported to municipal health services GGD, admitted to hospital, and admitted to intensive care are all leveling off, he said. But he added that these are provisional figures based only on patients who were officially tested, NU.nl reports.
The relationship between Italy and the Netherlands has not deteriorated due to the lack of European support to save the Italian economy, Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said in an interview with the Telegraaf. "The friendship with the Dutch people remains in tact."
Speaking about the heightened tensions between the Netherlands and several southern EU nations over the issuance of “coronabonds”, Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra indicated on Tuesday that he had previously shown “too little empathy” for the plight of Europe’s southern economies. Such a measure would be designed to support weaker economies, particularly in the south, which are struggling under the weight of the coronavirus pandemic.
The measures in place to curb the spread of coronavirus Covid-19 will be extended until at least April 28, Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced in a press conference on Tuesday evening, after meeting with experts, advisers and the Ministerial Crisis Management Team. During this time schools, daycare facilities, restaurants, museums, and other contact-heavy businesses will remain closed.
A group of 12 Italian politicians lambasted the Netherlands on Tuesday, angered by Dutch reticence to support European financial assistance to countries most affected by coronavirus. The Netherlands blocked emergency aid to EU member states, despite “using its tax system to withdraw tax revenue from major European countries for years,” they wrote in an open letter published in German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
The Netherlands' Outbreak Management Team advised the government to extend current measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 through to end-April or early-May. The team also recommended limiting inland tourism, sources in The Hague told RTL Nieuws. The government is meeting on Tuesday to decide which advice to follow and will officially announce measures in a press conference expected around 7:00 p.m.
Former Dutch Central Bank head Nout Wellink has voiced his dissent against the government for its reluctance to embrace "coronabonds," a common debt instrument designed to support embattled Eurozone economies in the wake of the coronavirus health crisis. In an interview on Monday with NPO Radio 1, Wellink expressed his support for the joint debt program in the European Union.
Minister Martin van Rijn for Medical Care met with the Chinese ambassador in The Hague to discuss a shipment of rejected medical masks from China. The Ministry had to reject some 600 thousand FFP-2 masks on Saturday because they did not meet quality standards, the Telegraaf reports.
"Talked to Chinese ambassador Xu Hong about the rejected masks, the Minister tweeted on Sunday. "But also thanked China for their support to fight the coronavirus in the Netherlands. We are working together to ensure that all protective equipment meets quality requirements."
The municipality of Amsterdam is making 3,250 laptops and 450 WiFi hotspots available to pupils who do not have the proper equipment at home to follow distance education while the schools are closed during the coronavirus crisis. With this emergency measure, alderman Marjolein Moorman wants to combat inequality and prevent children from falling behind, she said to AT5.
The laptops and WiFi hotspots will be available to pupils who need them for as long as the schools are closed. The laptops will be distributed on Monday. A maximum of one laptop is available per family.
The Netherlands ordered a total of 1 thousand ventilators from Philips two weeks ago, Philips CEO Frans van Houten said on television program Op1 on Sunday. By that time, the company's stock had already been sold to other countries. The first 100 units were delivered on Saturday. "The others come as soon as possible. It depend on how fast we can produce," Van Houten said.
The Netherlands will move its clocks forward by an hour on Sunday as daylight savings time kicks into effect across most of Europe. The shift will take place in the early hours of Sunday morning, when clocks will jump forward by one hour at 2 a.m., potentially cutting off an hour of sleep for millions of people.
The Salvation Army has started a campaign to bring more attention to the homeless during the time of isolation. The campaign features several homeless people while asking the Dutch public to consider how those without residences are supposed to "stay home" during the coronavirus pandemic.
There are an estimated 40 thousand homeless people in the Netherlands, double the amount ten years ago. The nonprofit organization says they provide assistance to about 15 thousand.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte spoke confidently on Friday about the measures put in place by the Dutch government to curb the spread of the Covid-19 variant of coronavirus, but he said it was "crucial" that the public continue adhering to social distancing rules. The approaching weekend was expected to be mostly sunny and chilly, with similar weather the prior weekend convincing masses of people to abandon the national health advice and form crowds at popular nature sites.
When the leaders of the EU Member States could not agree on a 400 billion euros emergency fund to absorb the blows of the coronavirus, there was criticism from other EU countries that the Netherlands was thinking only of itself in blocking this fund. Prime Minister Mark Rutte denied this. "The idea that the Netherlands alone stands against the entire south is not true," he said to RTL Nieuws. "There is a fairly broad group against it and that was expressed quite firmly."
Security services in the Netherlands have been warning about the dangers of a pandemic like the coronavirus since 2016. In reports by the national coordinator for counterterrorism and security NCTV, the security services warned that the Netherlands does not have enough ICU beds, among other things, NRC reports based on its own research. It seems little was done with this advice.
Tenants who lost their income due to the coronavirus and measures taken to curb its spread and therefore can't pay their rent, can temporarily not be evicted, Minister Stientje van Veldhoven of Housing said in a letter to parliament on Thursday. The Minister made agreements with landlord organizations Aedes, IVBN, Kences, and Vastgoed Belang to this extent. The measure applies as long as the coronavirus crisis, NU.nl reports.
Several parties in the lower house of Dutch parliament are in favor of forcing pharmaceutical company Roche to release the manufacturing process and recipe of the coronavirus test they make, if this is necessary. This would make it possible for tests to be produced in the Netherlands, NOS reports.
Minister Hugo de Jonge of Public Health asked health institute RIVM to look into other available coronavirus tests in order to increase the Netherlands' testing capacity, he said in a letter to parliament. He also said that around 20 thousand former and retired healthcare workers have volunteered to return to the sector to help with the Covid-19 crisis.
The government will decide next week Tuesday how the Netherlands will proceed in the fight against the coronavirus. The decisions will affect measures in place unit April 6, including working from home and the closure of schools, restaurants and museums. Events that need a permit will be canceled until at least June 1st, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said, NOS reports.
Members of the House of Representatives convened this afternoon to debate with Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra, pressing government to speed up emergency economic measures in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.
The measures in question, which would require significant changes to be made to the government budget, are aimed at aiding small businesses, entrepreneurs and self-employed workers in the Netherlands whose business has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.