Around 7.5 Million people tuned in to the TV address
Translated by Thomas Ansell
As reported by the NOS, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte made a televised address last night, calling on all people in the Netherlands to remain calm and together during the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak.
The Dutch government decided against a France or Italy-style complete public shutdown, with Rutte saying that though an authoritarian approach seems attractive, it would involve a full shut down of the country for a year or more, and all that that entails. Instead of a shut-down, the Dutch government has instead decided to pursue a tactic of maximum control of the outbreak.
A large proportion of the population will eventually contract the virus, said the Prime Minister, but the idea behind policy at the moment is to make sure that more serious cases are spread out over a longer time, so that the Dutch healthcare system can better cope.
Rutte also said that it would be good for as many healthy people as necessary to build up immunity to the virus, so that it doesn’t spread to vulnerable people.
Finally, Rutte laid out more policies designed to help businesses and sole traders: a large packet of regulations will be laid out today, and for self-employed people (ZZP’ers) it will become easier and quicker to apply for support for their business, should orders dry up due to the outbreak.
In (slightly) more positive news for those stuck at home, the Dutch government also decided that marijuana-selling coffeeshops could operate on a ‘take-out only’ policy. Previously they had been considered the same as cafés and restaurants, which have had to shut. Take-away restaurants will continue to operate: yesterday both Thuisbezorgd.nl and Dropper announced that they would continue to operate as usual.
Another 278 cases were confirmed across the Netherlands yesterday, meaning that 1413 people are confirmed to have been infected (by the RIVM). Most of the new confirmed cases are in the Provinces of Noord Brabant, Limburg, Utrecht; and South Holland.
In the Northern Netherlands, there do not seem to be too many more confirmed cases than in the last few days: in Drenthe the Gemeentes De Wolden and Noordenveld have one confirmed case, there are two in the Gemeente Hoogeveen, and eleven in the Gemeente Coevorden (as confirmed last week.
The Province of Groningen’s main centre (the city of Groningen) has seven confirmed cases, whilst the Gemeentes Pekela, Midden-Groningen, and Westerkwartier have one case each. Friesland too has low levels of confirmed cases: one in the Gemeentes Tytsjerksteradiel, Harlingen, and Súdwest Fryslân, two cases in the Gemeentes Opsterland and Leeuwarden, and three cases in both Smallingerland (Drachten) and De Fryske Marren.
Image via the RIVM