"How special is it that we managed to form a unit at a distance from each other," said King Willem-Alexander in a speech given from Huis Ten Bosch, the royal palace where he resides. "King's Day at home promises to be a unique day. And especially unique because I hope this will be the very last King's Day at home," he said with his wife, Queen Maxima, and their children by his side.
The coronavirus crisis has many Netherlands residents appreciating King Willem-Alexander and his actions, according to the annual King's Day survey conducted by Ipsos on behalf of NOS. The Dutch population gave the King a score of 7.7 this year - the highest figure of his entire term so far, NOS reports.
The first repatriation flight from Morocco landed at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam at around 00:30 a.m. on Monday. The Boeing 767 of travel agency TUI departed from Casablanca on Sunday evening. There were around 300 Dutch aboard, according to AD.
The passengers on the first repatriation flight involved Netherlands residents with an urgent need to get home, such as people who need medicines or medical care.
Cross-border workers and state pensioners in the Netherlands are set to be added to the Tozo scheme, a form of government support aimed at self-employed workers, including independent contractors and entrepreneurs, who were hard-hit by the global pandemic, Tamara van Ark, the state secretary for Social Affairs and Employment confirmed on Friday.
Parties from both in and outside of the ruling coalition have called on the cabinet to take action to protect the financial wellbeing of sex workers in the Netherlands, following the economic fallout caused by the Covid-19 outbreak.
"Despite repeated requests, action has so far failed to materialize," the CDA, ChristenUnie and opposition party PvdA affirmed in a statement. All the while, they claim, many sex workers "do not even have money for food."
On Friday, Ministers Erik Wiebes of Economic Affairs and Climate and Carola Schouten of Agriculture presented how they plan to reduce CO2 and nitrogen emissions. One goal is to reduce carbon emissions by 25 percent by the end of this year, compared to 1990, and thereby comply with a Dutch Supreme Court ruling in a case brought by sustainability foundation Urgenda.
The Ministry of Finance is projecting a 92-billion euro budget deficit for 2020 in part because of all emergency measures the government is implementing to cushion the blow caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The country's debt level is likely to rise to levels higher than what is permitted by the European Union, according Wopke Hoekstra, the country's finance minister.
Dutch public health agency RIVM strongly advised against following the latest advice from United States President Donald Trump on treating the coronavirus, who suggested that blasts of ultraviolet light and injections of disinfectant could potentially treat the virus and respiratory illness Covid-19. It would be an especially bad idea to eat, drink, or inject yourself with disinfectant, the health agency warned
The first of the some 3 thousand Dutch people currently stranded in Morocco are heading home on Sunday, when at least one flight will depart from Casablanca to Schiphol, the Volkskrant reports after speaking to several Dutch people who were informed that they can be on this flight.
Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen of Infrastructure and Water Management had to call on Netherlands residents to stop flushing their protective masks and gloves down the toilet. Now that more people are using protective gear against the coronavirus, water purification workers are finding more and more masks and gloves in the sewage, she said on Jinek.
"Please don't do that," the Minister said. She said that she was "really amazed" at what people are flushing.
The European Union government leaders reached an agreement on a coronavirus aid package consisting of some 540 billion euros during what Prime Minister Mark Rutte called a "pleasant meeting" on Thursday. The aid money must be available by June 1st, they agreed. Rutte is pleased with the outcome. "Guys, this is a lot of money," he said after the meeting, AD reports.
Benjamin Smith, CEO of Air France-KLM Group, will forgo the 122 percent bonus to which he is eligible, and waive 25 percent of his regular salary, the aviation giant announced on Thursday. This comes mere hours after Air France-KLM announced on Thursday a proposal to adjust bonus conditions making it possible for Smith to receive a significant bonus to his salary.
The European Union government leaders are meeting, via video call, on Thursday to discuss the so-called economic recovery fund to help EU economies recover after the coronavirus crisis. Over the past days, several politicians, including Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, again criticized the Netherlands for not showing solidarity with hard-hit countries. And that attitude is unlikely to change after today's meeting, as Prime Minister Mark Rutte first wants a thorough analysis of what it will take to help various economies recover, before talking about money, NOS reports.
The government wants to completely reopen primary schools in June, so that all kids can go to school all week like they did before the coronavirus crisis. If the first weeks of primary schools' partial reopening go without a major outbreak, the government will go through with this plan, sources told NOS.
Dozens of politicians, administrators, media personalities, municipalities, and organizations are calling on the Dutch government to take some of the children out of Greek refugee camps and offer them shelter, in a full-page advertisement published in NRC on Thursday.
The lower house of Dutch parliament debated the current state of affairs around the coronavirus with the cabinet on Wednesday. Parliamentarians wanted to know whether more businesses can be opened before the extended "intelligent lockdown" date of May 20th, and called for more than medical experts to be on the government's Outbreak Management Team, NOS and NU.nl report.
Children play a negligible role in the transmission of Covid-19, Jaap van Dissel of public health agency RIVM told parliament during a debate on the government's response to the pandemic on Wednesday. According to Van Dissel, who directs the Center for Infectious Disease Control wing of the RIVM, there are several studies which indicate that children become ill from contracting the coronavirus very infrequently, and they seldom pass it along to adults when they do.
Healthcare personnel who are involved with fighting the coronavirus pandemic in the Netherlands are set to receive a bonus to their pay, Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra told RTL Nieuws on Tuesday. He said that while it is great to see so many people in the Netherlands show their appreciation for those in healthcare, that appreciation needs to be backed up in a more tangible way.
"As a cabinet we have always said that it is great what is done by all those professionals and that it deserves a reward," he said, adding that such a reward should "not just in the form of applause."
Childcare institutions and special education primary schools can reopen without restrictions after the May holidays, according to leaked advice from the government's Outbreak Management Team that NOS has in its possession. Primary schools can partially reopen, and the same goes for some sports clubs, according to the advice. Prime Minister Mark Rutte will announce the government's decision on what to do about the current coronavirus measures in place on Tuesday evening.
The mayors in the Netherlands are hoping that the government will specifically relax anti-coronavirus measures around children and young people. They are concerned about the lack of movement room for young people and "the enforcement problems that creates", mayor Femke Halsema of Amsterdam said on Monday evening after a meeting of the Security Council - the council for the safety regions in the Netherlands, Dagblad van het Noorden reports.
If the government comes up with a new aid package to help companies affected by the coronavirus crisis, stricter conditions much be attached to that aid, according to GroenLinks and the PvdA. Among other things, aid should not go to companies that still pay bonuses to their top, and companies should meet sustainability requirements, the party leaders said on television on Monday evening.
The Outbreak Management Team advised the government to let children go back to school in smaller groups and to keep restaurants, cafes and other hospitality businesses closed until at least mid-May, sources told RTL Nieuws. Prime Minister Mark Rutte will officially announce the government's decision on relaxing the measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus in a press conference on Tuesday evening.
The Cabinet is not planning on major changes which would loosen up the existing rules in place to curb the spread of Covid-19 before Apr. 28, two ministers suggested on Monday. This comes amid growing speculation around how the Netherlands will emerge from its "intelligent lockdown" ahead of a planned Tuesday press conference with Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
"Let's not be under the illusion that we can take big steps," warned Minister of Health Hugo De Jonge to the broadcaster NOS on Monday after a meeting with Rutte.
The Dutch State will not appeal against a ruling that it is partially liable for damages caused by a plane crash in Faro in 1992, Veeru Mewa, the lawyer representing 32 of the victims, said to NU.nl.
Mewa said that he hasn't heard anything official, but if the State did appeal, he should have received a subpoena by April 8. Even if the subpoena was delayed due to the coronavirus and Easter, he should have heard something by now, he said to the newspaper.