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.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte addressed the nation on Monday evening regarding the state of affairs around coronavirus Covid-19. He said that the reality is that the coronavirus is among us, and will remain among us for the time being. Below find the full text of his speech, translated from Dutch by NL Times.
In the country's first national address by a prime minister in over 40 years, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte laid out three possible scenarios that affect how the coronavirus pandemic will impact the Netherlands, pledged his support for workers and all business owners, and asked that the country unite to prevent the situation from spiraling out of control. The preference, he said, is a scenario where the country spreads out the rate of infection as much as possible, and he emphasized that the country must take action together to prevent two more-dangerous scenarios from occurring.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte will address the country at 7:00 p.m. on Monday regarding the situation around coronavirus Covid-19. He will "address the difficult situation in which we find ourselves, the necessity of the measures taken, and the possible further developments in the coming weeks and months", according to government information service RVD.
Stringent measures taken to battle the spread of coronavirus Covid-19 are affecting all aspects of the Netherlands. Most court cases and parliamentary debates have been canceled. Community service has been suspended. And the Netherlands is no longer taking in asylum seekers. Freelancers suddenly unable to go to work are also facing problems.
Every primary and secondary school will be ordered shut as the Netherlands continues an ongoing battle to recover control over the spread of coronavirus, sources told broadcaster NOS. Additionally, all restaurants, cafes and sports clubs will also remain closed, broadcaster RTL Nieuws said
Multiple health organizations will meet with the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport on Sunday to discuss a call by healthcare experts to close all schools in the Netherlands. The meeting on Sunday afternoon was organized after leading medical specialists group FMS said shutting classroom doors was the safest decision possible in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Dozens of countries and territories implemented emergency measures to contain or prevent an outbreak of coronavirus in their lands on Saturday. While Dutch airline KLM said it would work to repatriate passengers, its subsidiary Transavia recommend people scheduled on cancelled flights quickly rebook their tickets to an available option if possible.
As a response, the Dutch government updated its travel advice to 14 different countries. A short description of these advisories follows this article.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte insisted that the people of the Netherlands stop hoarding because of the spread of coronavirus, and instead be more socially responsible and thus considerate of people in difficult situations. "We have enough food. There is no need to hoard," he said at his weekly scheduled press conference on Friday.
Rutte mentioned workers who were not able to remain home, like first responders, as one example. “It is very annoying for the people who work so hard for us. They get to the stores after work and see empty shelves," he said.
The public commemoration to mark the one year anniversary of a mass shooting on a tram in Utrecht on 18 March 2019 has been canceled. This is because of new measures taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus Covid-19, including the ban of events with more than 100 people.
Parliamentarians from both coalition and opposition parties are worried about the government's decision to keep schools open for the time being.
The top stock market index traded in the Netherlands suffered its worst single-day loss since 1987. The AEX Index, a listing of the top 25 blue chip stocks on the Euronext Amsterdam exchange, lost 10.75 percent of its value on Thursday.
The index, which includes companies like KPN, Shell, Philips, and the country's top banks, has lost over 31 percent since hitting its all-time high on February 14 just before the coronavirus crisis hit Europe. The AEX closed on Thursday at 432.10, returning to levels last seen in October 2016.
The Tax Authority is letting companies who can demonstrate in writing that they have run into problems due to the coronavirus defer on income tax, corporate tax, turnover tax or wage tax for the time being, the government said in a letter to parliament on Thursday, NOS reports.
The government is also expanding the guarantees for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Henceforth, the government will guarantee 75 percent of SME loans, instead of the previous 50 percent.
As the rate of coronavirus infections continues to grow in the Netherlands, the Dutch government imposed stricter advice to deal with the spread of the virus. The new rules call on anyone in the country to work from home as much as possible especially if they have any respiratory symptoms or a fever, for medical personnel, first responders, and essential workers to cancel travel to countries abroad, and a ban on all events where over a hundred people are to meet in one place.
Donald Trump's decision to ban flights between Europe and the United states is "potentially very drastic", Minister Stef Blok of Foreign Affairs said on Thursday. "We have very intensive relationships, a lot of people- and a lot of trade traffic." The Minister will examine whether the travel advice for the United States needs to be adjusted, he said to NOS.
Populist FvD leader Thierry Baudet took television program Buitenhof to court for what he himself called "fake news", "outrageous untruths" and "shameful lies", according to AD. His lawyer Dirk Vermaat said in the court in Lelystad on Wednesday that the program deliberately misquoted Baudet for the purpose of "character assassination" - to make him out as a racist, the newspaper reports.
The Netherlands and France are in discussions regarding the Dutch government selling its shares in Dutch airline KLM, the French ambassador in The Hague confirmed to BNR and Financieele Dagblad.
The Netherlands owns 6 percent shares in KLM and 14 percent shares in Air France-KLM. That is more than the French government's shares, making the situation "out of balance", French ambassador Luis Vassy said to the news agencies.
Minister Hugo de Jonge of Public Health is working on a new law that will put an end to non-disclosure agreements in healthcare. His legislative proposal will make it impossible for care providers to force patients or surviving relatives to remain silent about errors in their or their loved ones' care, NOS reports.
The board of the Pride Amsterdam foundation, including chairman Frits Huffnagel, resigned on Monday due to statements Huffnagel made about refugees and war criminals. After initially just distancing itself from Huffnagel's comments, the board decided to rather step down to prevent the commotion affecting the Pride event, NOS reports.