KLM vouchers issued for flights canceled due to the coronavirus will be worth 15 percent more than the original ticket price, according to news wire ANP. The Dutch airline hopes that this will make it more attractive for travelers to opt for a voucher instead of a refund.
After 23 straight quarters of economic growth in the Netherlands, the country's gross domestic product in the first quarter of the year fell by 1.7 percent. It was the single biggest quarterly drop since the beginning of 2009, when GDP fell by 3.6 percent, according to Statistics Netherlands (CBS).
The number of open vacancies in the Netherlands decreased by a record 60 thousand in the first quarter, Statistics Netherlands reported on Friday. At the end of March there were 226 thousand vacancies in the country, 20 percent less than in the last quarter of 2019 and the first quarterly decline in seven years, the stats office said.
Support for the government's coronavirus policy remains high among Netherlands residents, and that is also showing in the polls, according to a recent survey by I&O Research. If the parliamentary elections were held today, Prime Minister Mark Rutte's VVD would walk away with 43 seats in parliament, compared to its current 32, ANP reports.
Self-employed persons whose partner earns enough to support them will no longer be eligible for coronavirus support from next month. Now that the crisis is lasting longer, State Secretary Tamara van Ark of Social Affairs decided to attach some stricter conditions to the so-called Tozo scheme, sources in The Hague told Financieele Dagblad.
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis, Dutch banks offered over 11 billion euros in aid measures to nearly 143 thousand businesses and 28 thousand consumers, according to an overview by the Dutch association of banks NVB. That is 4 billion euros more than two weeks ago, NOS reports.
Coronavirus antibody research by Utrecht University and Erasmus MC can stop an infection by the coronavirus. The medicine is currently at the stage of animal research. And if this produces good results, "according to the most favorable prognosis, we can treat patients who give permission on a small scale within six months," head researcher Berend Bosch said to Nieuwsuur.
There were 410 patients from the Netherlands with Covid-19 being treated in intensive care on Thursday. The total was 22 fewer than the number of people in ICU on Wednesday, and it was the lowest total of Covid-19 patients there since March 20.
"The percentage decline continues to accelerate this week compared to the past three weeks," said Ernst Kuipers, who leads the acute care providers network in the country. "That is a good development. The released ICU capacity will be fully utilized for other care."
NS will use green stickers to show travelers where they can sit when trains start running on schedule again on June 2, the rail company said. This is to make sure travelers can keep sufficient distance from each other. Only window seats can be used, which means about 50 percent of seats will be available.
Public health agency RIVM confirmed the deaths of 28 more Covid-19 patients in the Netherlands, bringing the total number of fatal cases there to 5,590. At least eight people died on Wednesday, and 23 the previous day, the agency said.
The new fatalities reported by the RIVM took place between April 8 and May 14.
From March 14 through May 12, the health agency said that 27 more people with Covid-19 were hospitalized than it had previously known about. Some 11,457 people in the country have required hospitalization for the coronavirus disease since the pandemic began.
KLM is adjusting its refund policy for the coronavirus crisis so that passengers whose flights are cancelled due to the pandemic can choose between a voucher or a cash refund. The airline still hopes that customers will opt for vouchers, and to encourage this the airline plans to add "extra value" to the vouchers, KLM announced on Thursday.
Russia is spreading disinformation about the coronavirus in the Netherlands, Minister Kasja Ollongren of Home Affairs said in a letter to parliament. Intelligence service AIVD found "Russian narratives" about the virus being shared in a number of Dutch-language social media groups, she said.
These narratives emphasize "alleged European divisions and lack of mutual solidarity between countries in Western Europe in the field of Covid-19," Ollongren wrote. She added that outside the social media groups in which these messages were shared, their reach remained limited.
While the roads in the Netherlands are much quieter since the government implemented an intelligent lockdown to fight the coronavirus, the number of fatalities in traffic accidents remained about the same, AD reports based on figures from the police and trafficking engineering office VIA.
Between March 16 and April 26, a total of 62 people died in traffic accidents in the Netherlands. In the past three years, there were 65 traffic deaths in that period.
The number of disease infections in the Netherlands decreased considerably since the measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus were implemented, according to figures knowledge institute Nivel received from general practitioners, AD reports.
The government agreed to give flexible workers and people with zero-hour contracts who lost their jobs due to the coronavirus crisis a monthly allowance of 600 euros, sources around the cabinet confirmed to newspaper AD. The regulation should be ready to launch next week.
Greenpeace activists occupied a runway at Schiphol airport on Thursday morning to protest the billion euros in support going to the polluting aviation sector during the coronavirus crisis. The environmental organization wants strict sustainability conditions to be attached to this aid.
According to NH Nieuws, the activists are occupying the Aalsmeerbaan, currently used to park KLM planes. They brought a small bridge with them to get across the ditch that separates the public road from the secured area at Schiphol, and bicycles to get to the runway as quickly as possible.
Around 55 thousand pupils haven't returned to class since primary schools opened on Monday, according to a survey conducted by the general association of school leaders AVS among over 1,100 school directors. Their parents keep them home out of concern that they will be infected by the coronavirus. Despite these absences, almost all school leaders are happy with how the transition from home schooling to back to class went, NOS reports.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte asked consumers to show solidarity with the travel organizations and accept a voucher for a flight canceled due to the coronavirus crisis, instead of demanding a refund. Minister Hugo de Jonge of Public Health warned Dutch against going on "corona-proof" vacations being organized by travel company Corendon. And Minister Martin van Rijn for Medical Care and Sports said it may be possible for professional football to restart before September 1st.
Travel company TUI was hard hit by the coronavirus crisis in the first quarter of this year, and as a result has to cut its workforce considerably. A total of 8 thousand jobs will be lost worldwide, TUI announced with its quarterly figures on Wednesday, RTL Nieuws reports.
TUI sales decreased by 10 percent in the first quarter, compared to the same quarter last year, to 2.7 billion euros. Profits decreased by 318 percent. The travel company suffered a net loss of 740 million euros, compared to a loss of 177 million euros a year ago.
A greater number of patients were being treated for illnesses other than Covid-19 in intensive care units across the Netherlands. The amount of people in ICU without Covid-19 on Wednesday was at its highest level since mid-March, said Ernst Kuipers, the chair of the country's acute care network.
'We now see that non-COVID care is at a higher level than in the past two months. It is a good sign that other healthcare is expanding again," Kuipers said.
Health authorities in the Netherlands said that 52 more people with Covid-19 have died, and another 52 were hospitalized. The statistics revealed on Wednesday by the RIVM cover a multi-day period, and did not all take place in the past 24 hours.
At least 5,562 people have died as a result of the viral infection, including 15 who passed away on Tuesday. Ten more died on Monday than previously thought, raising that day's total to 23. The remaining 27 deaths largely took place between April 2 and May 10.
A large group of people with serious psychological problems are experiencing increased symptoms since the start of the coronavirus crisis in the Netherlands, according to to a study by the Trimbos Institute and MIND. They partly attribute this worsening of mental health problems to changes in care delivery, NU.nl reports.
Today the Netherlands is commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Enschede fireworks disaster. On Saturday afternoon, 13 May 2000, a fire at fireworks company SE Fireworks caused a chain reaction of explosions. 23 people were killed, 947 people were injured, and around 200 homes were destroyed.
ABN Amro suffered a loss of 395 million euros in the first quarter of this year. Like with ING, the disappointing results had a lot to do with loans to companies that may not be repaid due to the coronavirus crisis. ABN Amro had to set 1.1 billion euros aside to potentially cover these loans, NU.nl reports.