Dutch actualities overview

This page replaces the weekly actualities overview in the newsletter. Weekly, we will post an update of the recent Dutch news, relating to the corona virus, especially for international students.

Week 26 | 22-06-2020

Corona law – The government is postponing the moment that a new corona law comes into effect. Currently, all corona measures are scattered over various emergency ordinances on levels varying from nationwide to municipal. To give De Tweede Kamer (house of commons) more influence on this, the law is designed to replace most of the ordinances. There is lot of criticism to the proposition in its current form, among others by the Order of Lawyers and the Raad van State (highest advisory council of the Netherlands). Minister Grapperhaus (Justice) indicated that most of the comments will be processed into the new proposition, which he hopes will be approved in September.

Protests in The Hague – On the Maliveld in The Hague, a protest was held against the corona measures. The demonstration was forbidden by major Remkes, because with the expected amount of people, the one-and-a-half meters distance rule (the very rule they were protesting against) could not be executed. In the end, permission was granted for the demonstrators who were already present, for a short demonstration. Not all demonstrators left after that. The police executed charges and deployed a water canon to make people leave the Maliveld. According to the police, rioters mixed up through the demonstrators, with the aim of disrupting the public order.

Totals – So far, 49 593 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the Netherlands. 6090 people have died. For the first time since March, zero new deaths have been reported today.

Week 25 | 15-06-2020

Promising vaccine deal – Together with Germany, France and Italy, the Netherlands have come to an agreement with pharmacist AstraZeneca, to get 300 to 400 million doses of a vaccine that AstraZeneca is developing for the corona virus. It is not certain yet that the vaccine actually works. Minister Hugo de Jonge (public health) said that this risk was worth it, to prevent a situation where the Netherlands are ‘last in line’. The EU and Belgium have stated that they disapprove of the actions of the four countries, because the EU is also negotiating as a block.

Aviation – Wearing a face mask will be mandatory on all Dutch airfields, during check-in, at the gate and at security. Face masks are also obligated in planes. In this way, flying without respecting the one-and-a-half meter distance is responsible, according to the government and the RIVM. People who suffer from health complaints, are not allowed to fly.

Week 24 | 08-06-2020

Measures as of June 1 – As of June 1, a couple of the measures against the corona virus have been eased. Below a summary of the most important measures that are currently valid is given:

  • Wash hands regularly.
  • Keep 1.5 meters distance from others at all times.
  • Gatherings are possible with respect for the 1.5 meters distance. Inside, a cap of 30 people is set.
  • Public transportation runs according to the regular timetable. Wearing a (non-medical) face mask is obligatory.
  • Restaurants and caf├ęs are allowed to receive guests (up to 30 inside). For inside spots, reservation is mandatory.

Corona dashboard – At coronadashboard.rijksoverheid.nl, the government released a first version of the so-called corona dashboard. The dashboard is an overview of various numbers related to the corona virus, together with thresholds (NL: signaalwaardes). If a value exceeds the threshold, the RIVM will look into the necessity of stricter measurements. The data is made public to give some insight in the considerations of the decisions.

Dam demonstration – Last Monday, an anti-racism demonstration attracted about 5000 people to De Dam in Amsterdam. Keeping one-and-a-half meters distance was not feasible. However, the ‘triangle’ of major Halsema, police and Department of prosecution, decided to do not intervene, weighing the risk of escalation. Halsema received criticism about this, both in municipal as national politics.

Corona tests – The designated GGD (= municipal health care service) phone number (0800 – 1202) has been phoned 320 000 times on the first day it was opened. People can phone the number if they suffer from complaints associated with COVID-19, to make an appointment for a test. The test only shows whether a person is infected with COVID-19 at the moment of testing, not whether this person has had COVID-19 in the past.

Week 23 | 01-06-2020

In the past few weeks, a relatively high number of workers in slaughterhouses in the Netherlands have been infected with COVID-19. In other countries, similar situations occur. Labor union FNV requested the government to make tests available for all employees in this sector on a short notice. The government is investigating the possibilities for this together with the GGDs. By the way, meat from infected houses is considered to be safe, as there are a couple of days between processing and preparing. Next to that, the virus cannot survive the baking process.

The government filed a law that enables the RIVM to use anonymized data of radio towers to get an impression of crowdedness and movement. The data is not traceable back to individual persons. The law still has to be approved by both Houses of Parliament. The RIVM will use the data to enable itself to react quicker on local outbreaks of the COVID-19 virus. The Autoreiteit Persoonsgegevens (privacy watchdog) will look into the proposition.

In the Hague, several dozen protesters have been arrested. The demonstrations were allowed, provided that at most 30 people per location would participate and that everybody would keep one-and-a-half meters distance. The protests are directed against the corona measures, but also to the 5G network and the government as a whole. Arrestees were put into a bus, but not before they received a face mask from the police.

Due to the weather and Whit Sunday, trains to the coast are again too crowded in some cases. The NS (national railways) urges everyone to only use the train for essential business, but not for leisure. Face masks in the train are mandatory as of June 1, but the advice of the NS to not use the train remains in place.

So far, 46 442 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the Netherlands. 5956 people have died.

Editorial note

This news overview is composed out of several sources. In alphabetical order: NOS, NRC, RIVM (English site) and Trouw. Not every source applies to every weekly update.

For comments, suggestions or remarks about this page or its contents, please contact ib@vdwaals.nl.