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.
Giorgio Gori, mayor of the northern Italian city of Bergamo, criticized the Netherlands for not implementing a complete lockdown in the fight against the coronavirus Covid-19. "I say it with all due respect, but I think that a big mistake is being made in the Netherlands," Gori said during a Q&A with foreign press in Italy, the Telegraaf reports.
To make sure everyone understands new measures implemented to curb the spread of coronavirus Covid-19, the government published some clarifications on exactly what type of gatherings are banned and what is allowed. In general, groups of three or more people are banned, and stores, markets, public transit, and locations like parks and beaches must close if insufficient hygiene measures are taken and people are unlikely to keep 1.5 meters apart.
Bruno Bruins, who stepped down as Minister for Medical Care last week, said thank you for all the messages of support he received since his resignation.
"Many thanks for all the sweet messages, flowers, drawings and gifts. Heart warming. I am resting now, although I don't like it much. I wish all the hard workers in the Netherlands a lot of strength. Only together will we work the corona crisis out of the country. Take care and look after each other!" Bruins said on Twitter.
The Netherlands' mayors are pleased with the new packet of measures the government implemented against the spread of the coronavirus on Monday. The new measures give them "clear rules" and the possibility to intervene.
The Dutch cabinet introduced three new regulations to fight the spread of coronavirus in the country, after a sunny weekend brought thousands of people to popular outdoor areas, defying the ban on groups of people gathered in one place and the advice that people keep at least a 1.5-meter distance from each other. The new rules include fines when members of the public disregard the regulations, and an order that no more than two people stand together within their 150-centimeter personal space.
Travelers stuck outside of the Netherlands due to flights being halted or severely limited in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic have a new option to get help to return home. A ten-million euro fund was launched on Monday to provide assistance to stranded fliers, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Monday.
Essentially, passengers will contribute 300 euros for their own repatriation if returning back from the European Union or 20 countries near the EU. The personal contribution rises to 900 euros for countries further away from the list of EU-adjacent countries.
The Ministerial Crisis Management Committee will be meeting again on Monday evening to discuss whether any further measures need to be taken around coronavirus Covid-19. After that the safety offices of at least 25 different regions will meet in Utrecht to discuss municipal and regional measures, NOS reports.
Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb of Rotterdam wants the government to give municipalities more resources to enforce government measures and advice against the spread of coronavirus Covid-19, he said on Nieuwsuur on Sunday. A contact ban - a prohibition on more than two people being outside together - could be on the table, the mayor said. "It would be a horrendous measure, but if these kinds of calls and measures do not work, this could come into the picture."
King Willem-Alexander addressed the nation of the Netherlands on the situation surrounding coronavirus Covid-19 on Friday. In his address, he stressed the need for people to find it in their hearts to be as compassionate and assertive as possible during the coronavirus pandemic. He also offered his gratitude and praise for many of the hardest working people in the country.
In his minutes-long speech to the nation, Dutch King Willem-Alexander reflected on the sudden changes caused by coronavirus, and expressed his admiration for the nation's healthcare workers, public health professionals, and everyone working hard to keep the country moving forward. He also expressed his concern and empathy for those who feel troubled by the situation personally or professionally.
Martin van Rijn from opposition party PvdA was appointed to take over as Minister for Medical Care, Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced on Friday, NOS reports.
Van Rijn, who was a State Secretary of Public Health in the previous Rutte government, will take over from Bruno Bruins. He resigned on Thursday after collapsing from exhaustion during a parliamentary debate on Wednesday.
Politicians in The Hague were surprised by Bruno Bruins' resignation as Minister for Medical Care. Many complimented him on his hard work and wished him well and good recovery.
Bruno Bruins, one of the most present voices in the Netherlands during the ongoing coronavirus crisis, asked to be released from his post as the Minister of Healthcare on Thursday. The previous evening, Bruins collapsed from exhaustion while standing at the podium in the lower house of parliament during a debate on the country's preparedness.
Members of the Tweede Kamer debated the social distancing strategy presented by Prime Minister Mark Rutte to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, and widely expressed their approval to press forward. Hearings on the strategy began in the morning and continued in the afternoon and into the night, until Health Minister Bruno Bruins collapsed in the middle of debate.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte is keeping the possibility open to temporarily halt public life in the Netherlands completely in the fight against the coronavirus. But, as the country's care capacity is still sufficient, such a lock down is not yet necessary, he said to NOS in response to criticism on the Dutch policy to strive for "herd immunity" against Covid-19.
The municipality of Rotterdam is presenting a plan on Wednesday to tackle the increased violence among young people in the city. Schools with many problems will get more police supervision, and the municipality will provide subsidies to train students and teaches on dealing with aggression, Trouw reports.
The plan focuses on secondary schools and secondary vocational schools. The municipality is allocating 180 thousand euros per year for the approach.
The ruling Dutch Cabinet said it would expand a program to provide relief to employers who have been negatively affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The program concerns businesses in crisis that want to temporarily reduce their salaried workers' contracted hours and adjust their pay accordingly. The scheme currently provides government funding to cover 75 percent of the lost wages, paid directly to the employee, with the employer covering the remainder.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte could count on praise from both opposition and coalition parties for his address to the nation on Monday. In his speech, the Prime Minister warned that coronavirus Covid-19 will be in the Netherlands for some time, and called on Netherlands residents to face this difficult time together.