After closing in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic, secondary schools in the Netherlands are opening their doors again for larger groups of students on Tuesday. In the last weeks before the summer holidays, students will be allowed to go to school again, but not all at once, ANP reports.
From today, NS trains and other public transit will be running largely according to schedule again. It is mandatory to wear a mask on public transit. "The following still applies: only travel if you really have to and avoid busy places and times," NS advised its travelers.
Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema was criticized for not intervening in a massive protest against racism and police brutality on Dam Square on Monday. Some 5 thousand demonstrators gathered at the square, without keeping 1.5 meters apart. This demonstration may well be a "super spreading event" when it comes ot the coronavirus, Menno de Jong, virologist and member of the government's Outbreak Management Team, said to Het Parool.
Crowds of several thousand protestors gathered peacefully on the Dam Square in central Amsterdam on Monday to display solidarity with protestors in the United States and to protest what they assert is a culture of systemic racism in the Netherlands. Authorities told NL Times they had initially been expecting some 500 people to show up on the Dam Square. The actual number, which the municipality said was closer to ten times the original estimate, came as a surprise.
From today, everyone with even mild symptoms that could indicate a coronavirus infection can make an appointment with health service GGD to be tested. Those with symptoms like a fever, coughing, sneezing or shortness of breath can call 0800-1202 to make an appointment. The number is free to call and will be available between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. daily.
Starting today, it is mandatory to wear a mouth mask on buses, trains, trams, subways and any other form of public transit in the Netherlands. Those who do not wear a mask, will be fined 95 euros. Traveling with public transit is still meant for only necessary trips at this stage of the coronavirus lockdown.
With sunny and warm weather forecast for the Netherlands today, and catering establishments being allowed to open their doors for the first time since mid-March, the day is expected to be busy throughout the country. But the mayors in the Security Council, comprised of the 25 security regions in the Netherlands, are confident that Netherlands residents will adhere to social distancing rules in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Despite bars, restaurants and cafes finally being allowed to reopen in the Netherlands on Monday, many will be keeping their doors shut for the time being. Many of the smaller establishments physically can't manage to adhere to social distancing and keep everyone 1.5 meters apart. And some who can will be able to accommodate so few customers that opening is not financially possible, AD reports.
Testing capacity has been underutilized in hospitals across the Netherlands, according to a new investigation by RTL Nieuws. Some hospitals have only been conducting about 10 percent of the tests they are capable of handling, the broadcast outlet claimed.
At least 21 members of The Hague's Muslim community have tested positive for Covid-19 after an outbreak at the Al Madinah Mosque, sources told Omroep West on Saturday, with one elderly member succumbing to the disease.
The mosque, which is part of the Faizul-Islam religious group, initially shut its doors on March 12 following the outbreak of Covid-19 in the Netherlands. However, according to Omroep West, members of the local Muslim community continued to frequent the mosque during Ramadan, often gathering in groups of more than 30 people.
Studies are reportedly underway across multiple Dutch hospitals to test the efficacy of the anti-malaria drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, despite mounting international evidence that their use to treat Covid-19 has little effect. According to a report by the newspaper AD, the tests have involved a large proportion of Dutch Covid-19 hospital patients.
The risk of traveling across the border to some European countries poses no greater risk of catching Covid-19 than remaining in the Netherlands, RIVM head Jaap van Dissel and chief researcher Jacco Wallinga told the public broadcaster NOS in an interview on Saturday.
Some immigrants and asylum seekers who arrive in the Netherlands from next summer year may be required to learn a higher level of Dutch and to take up an occupation or voluntary service in tandem with language courses in order to integrate more quickly, according to a new proposal by Minister of Social Affairs and Employment Wouter Koolmees. The ministry has determined that the current integration system is no longer sufficient, according to a statement published on Friday.
The Dutch government will support the national travel guarantee fund SGR with another 150 million euros. The Cabinet approved the loan to incentivize consumers to accept a voucher for their cancelled travel plans.
The SGR fund provides customers with a refund of any prepaid money or repatriation should a Dutch travel provider go bankrupt. In a statement about the fund, the Dutch government expressed support for the practice of issuing vouchers instead of refunding cash, something which the European Commission said was not to be forced upon customers.
Van Rooi Meat slaughterhouse in Helmond was ordered closed on Thursday evening after 21 employees tested positive for the coronavirus in a sample testing. The meat processing company will have to stay closed until at least Tuesday, local security region Veiligheidsregio Brabant-Zuidoost announced.
Jan van Zanen, currently mayor in Utrecht, was nominated to be the new mayor of The Hague. Chris van der Helm, chairman of the confidential committee that led the search for the mayor, called the 58-year-old VVD man an "experienced, powerful director with a lot of mayor experience who can get started right away", NOS reports.
At least one person was killed in a head-on collision on the A12 highway towards Arnhem on Friday morning. The accident was very likely caused by a wrong way driver, the police said on Twitter at around 6:30 a.m.
A man who used an ax to attack people in The Hague Thursday night was shot by police on Thursday. A local news outlet said he suddenly went berzerk and struck a cyclist after he had sat on a bench there for an extended period of time.
Several paramedics crews, including a trauma team in a helicopter, were sent to the street in the Scheveningen district between 6:45 p.m. and 7:05 p.m. The shooting happened at least an hour later.
The number of people found trying to illegally cross from the Netherlands to the United Kingdom at Dutch ports decreased significantly in the first quarter of this year, according to figures released by the Koninklijke Marechaussee. In the first quarter, Marechaussee officers found 130 stowaways, compared to 240 in the same period last year.
In the second aid package to help companies through the coronavirus crisis, companies can be fined it they fire more than 20 employees and have no agreement in place with the trade unions. Companies that do this will have to pay a fine of 5 percent of the total amount of wage costs it received from the government, sources in The Hague told NOS.
Many companies that offer their customers vouchers for events canceled due to the coronavirus do not follow all the applicable agreements, the authority on consumer and markets ACM said after checking 180 voucher regulations for canceled concerts, festivals, sports matches and other events.
Fitness centers, wellness centers and saunas will be allowed to reopen from July 1, said Prime Minister Mark Rutte in a brief press conference on Wednesday evening. Sport facility cantinas and casinos will also be given permission to reopen that date, but sex work will still not be allowed until September 1. The Dutch leader was joined by Health Minister Hugo de Jonge after a meeting of the Cabinet's crisis management committee.
There were four patients with Covid-19 who were pronounced dead on Tuesday, according to the most current data available from public health agency RIVM. The four were included in an update that added 15 more fatalities to Dutch statistics related to the disease.
Ten of the other 11 deaths took place between May 19 and May 25, the RIVM said. In total, 5,871 people have died as a result of the coronavirus disease since early March.
Dutch researchers are going to play a leading role in monitoring the safety and efficacy of vaccines against the coronavirus in Europe. This project was commissioned by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and will be led by UMC Utrecht and Utrecht University. Project ACCESS will focus on preparing Europe to properly and jointly monitor the effectiveness and safety of Covid-19 vaccines that enter the market.