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.
The city of Maastricht has announced that the annual King’s Day celebration will not be held this year due to measures needed to “combat the coronavirus.” The city was set to host the Dutch royal family on the April 27 holiday, the birthday of King Willem-Alexander.
Another 278 people in the Netherlands tested positive for the Covid-19 variant of coronavirus, bringing the country's total number of patients to 1,413. Four more patients who tested positive with the virus died since Sunday, figures provided by public health agency RIVM showed.
"In total, 24 people have now died from the disease. The average age of the deceased is 79 years (youngest 59- oldest 94). A total of 205 patients were or have been admitted to a hospital," the RIVM said in a statement.
The Netherlands awoke to a country that has largely come to a stand still on Monday morning. With businesses, schools and daycares largely ordered shut until April 6th, the roads and public transit were very quiet. As a result, both travelers association ANWB and public works department Rijkswaterstaat reported no traffic jams this morning - an unprecedented situation, NU.nl reports.
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.
The Red Cross launched a helpline for people in the Netherlands quarantined at home over the coronavirus. The helpline is manned by medical professionals and meant for people with questions about their health, or who want to talk, RTL Nieuws and NU.nl report.
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
There were 446 known cases of residents testing positive with coronavirus in the province of Noord-Brabant, figures released by health agency RIVM showed on Sunday. The increase of 43 patients meant the province was far outpacing any of the other 11 in terms of new cases discovered. It was home to over 41 percent of all patients in the Netherlands, based on the known residences of 1,077 patients, the RIVM said.
Another 176 people tested positive for the Covid-19 variant of coronavirus since Saturday, the second largest single-day increase in coronavirus patients in the Netherlands. It brings the country's total number of positive tests to 1,135.
"As of yesterday, eight patients died from COVID-19, ages 59 to 94. Most are over 70 years old and had underlying symptoms," public health agency RIVM said on Sunday. "In total, 20 people have now died from the illness. A total of 162 patients were or have been hospitalized."
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.
A total of 959 people in the Netherlands have tested positive for the coronavirus strain which causes Covid-19, figures released on Saturday by public health agency RIVM show. It was an increase of 155, or 16 percent, over the 804 positive tests reported on Friday. That day set the country's benchmark for the largest single-day increase in patients at 190, and the smaller increase on Saturday is likely because of a policy shift about who gets tested in the Netherlands.
In response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Dutch flag carrier KLM announced it was slashing 25 percent of its schedule in March, and between 30-40 percent of its flights over the following three months. The airline said it would also cut the equivalent of up to two thousand full time jobs, starting on Saturday.
A team of ten scientific researchers from the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam and Utrecht University say they are the first in the world to discover an antibody capable of fending off an infection by the Covid-19 variant of coronavirus. The discovery could lead to an antiviral medication, and the ability for people to test themselves at home for the presence of the virus.
The Netherlands will begin banning the arrival of flights from several countries among the most affected by the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak. The decision will affect flights from China, Hong Kong, Iran, Italy and South Korea, said Infrastructure Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen on Friday after a meeting with Cabinet members.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, universities and universities of applied sciences in the Netherlands will offer no physical education for the rest of this month. Exams in lecture halls are canceled, as are other educational activities, the associations involved announced.
Klaas Knot, director of Dutch central bank DNB, does not rule out the possibility that the coronavirus pandemic will bring the Dutch economy into a recession. "You don't need a very serious corona scenario, on top of what we expect now, for our economy to also come close to a recession," he said to Nieuwsuur after a meeting at the European Central Bank (ECB).
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.
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.
The Netherlands' anonymous tip line Meld Misdaad Anoniem received nearly 5 thousand tips regarding hard drugs and around a thousand reports of criminal money last year - a record number of tips for both these types of crimes, the organization said with its annual figures for 2019, NOS reports.
United States president Donald Trump banned entry to flights from Europe for 30 days starting on the night from Friday to Saturday. This has to do with coronavirus Covid-19. Schiphol will definitely be affected by this ban, the airport said in a brief statement, adding that it is mapping out "what this means exactly for flights to the U.S."
The entry ban exempts countries outside the Schengen Area, like the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Amsterdam and Rotterdam saw a major increase in the number of minors involved in incidents with weapons over the past years. The number of stabbings in Rotterdam involving underage victims and suspects doubled last year. And the number of underage suspects in weapon incidents in Amsterdam increased by 50 percent since 2017, NOS reports based on figures from the local police stations.
Another 121 people in the Netherlands tested positive for the new coronavirus, bringing the total Covid-19 diagnoses in the country up to 503, public health institute RIVM said on Wednesday. A 68-year-old person became the fifth Covid-19 fatality in the Netherlands. This patient had underlying health problems, the RIVM said.