During the crisis we will bring you the relevant Dutch news in English

Information kindly supplied by Omroep West and DutchBuzz

Thursday, 2nd APRIL

  • Schools in The Hague have lost contact with hundreds of school students according to a survey carried out by Omroep West. ‘Now that the schools are going to be closed for an even longer period, I am anxious about the more vulnerable children who will have a learning deficit if they don’t respond,’ says Omar Ramadan, the chairman of the Sophia Schools management board in Voorhout. The school has 7000 students at 28 different schools in the region. The May school holiday follows the 28 April date for schools to reopen: ‘Our teachers really need this break, so I don’t expect schools to open before 10 May,’ he said. In The Hague, school attendance officers are working together with child welfare, schools and the municipalities to address this problem now that the opening date for schools has been postponed.
  • Twenty of The Hague’s art and cultural organizations face financial collapse before the end of this month. According to City Alderman, Robert van Asten (D66), the Cabinet needs to lend this sector its support. Van Asten said this would entail tens of millions of euros.
  • The life expectancy of people living in the Netherlands has dropped following the outbreak of the coronavirus. This applies especially to the average life expectancy for those over the age of 65, says sociologist at the University of Amsterdam, Jan Latten.
  • In Zoetermeer, corona patients whose condition is not critical enough to be admitted to hospital but too bad to nurse at home, are being accommodated at two locations – a hotel and hospice that have made a total of 51 beds available. The patients are being attend to by a group of general practitioners. This is being done to alleviate the pressure on hospitals.
  • A The Hague dental clinic is offering online dental consultations via a video link. Dental 365 started this emergency service today. In this way, the dentists can establish the urgency for each case, Omroep West reports.
  • In Vroondaal, residents who continue to work during the corona crisis period are being thanked for their input with pavement drawings outside their homes. Some 60 households took part in this community activity to give the working residents a moral boost.
  • Using materials such as vacuum cleaner bags, cotton and polyester, Atelier Kleurstof in Leiden is helping to manufacture much needed face masks. ‘I usually give sewing lessons, but that was stopped due to the corona crisis, so I started an online video class that shows you how to make them,’ said Marlous Nacken. ‘So far we have collectively sewn 9700 face masks. About 300 volunteers are now making them.’

Wednesday, 1st APRIL

  • There has been a massive surge of coronavirus confirmed infections in the South Holland province. The Hague and Leiden currently have highest hospitalisation rate in the country.
  • Prime Minister Mark Rutte addressed the country together with Public Health Minister, Hugo de Jonge. We have put together the essence of their speeches.
  • The current “lockdown light” will remain in effect until 28 April. Restaurants, sports clubs and museums, among others, will remain closed until then. This new date will be reviewed in due course.
  • Schools will remain closed until the upcoming spring holiday. In our region, the holiday dates range between 18 April and 9 May, depending on the school.
  • Testing for coronavirus infection will be increased. Starting Monday, healthcare workers outside of hospitals will be tested. Withing a few weeks, the government aims to have 17,500 people tested per day, eventually leading up to 29,000 per day. The priority is for elderly patients and those with a compromised immune system, such as those undergoing chemotherapy.
  • The healthcare system is already under intense pressure, with shortages of ventilators, trained staff, Intensive Care beds and protective clothing. There is also increased unrest among overworked healthcare workers about the lack of safety equipment. The government is aiming to create 2400 extra Intensive Care beds by Sunday 5 april. So far 1900 have been made available.
  • In his address on Tuesday evening, Prime Minister Mark Rutte repeated the main rules: stay at home as much as possible; if you do go out, stay 1.5 metres (6 feet) away from other people. If you have a runny nose, do not leave your house; if a member of your household has a cough and fever, all members of the household must stay at home.
  • There has been a massive surge of coronavirus confirmed infections in the South Holland province. The Hague and Leiden currently have highest hospitalisation rate in the country.
  • Starting 1 April, anyone entering the HMC hospitals (Bronovo, Westeinde and Antoniushove) will have their temperature taken, in accordance with national policy. This includes, patients, visitors and suppliers.
  • The reduced rail service of the NS will also be extended until 28 April.
  • The decision to extend the lockdown to 28 April has been well received by schools and organisations representing small businesses, which recognise that it is necessary to combat the spread of the virus.
  • Research into coronavirus immunity has begun. The public health authority, RIVM, will regularly test a group of 6000 people from different parts of the country and different age categories, for antibodies. This will allow researchers to gather data on the spread of the virus and how the quality and duration of immunity that is built up.
  • The website steffie.nl has been created to help people with a mental disability to better understand the coronavirus and how to help themselves. For example, it demonstrates how to wash hands effectively and how to recognise whether you have symptoms of the virus.

Tuesday, 31st MARCH

Prime Minister Mark Rutte and the Minister of Public Health, Welfare and Sport, Hugo de Jonge will be holding a press conference this evening on the possible extension of measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Here is a summary of the local news headlines:

  • Concerned parents and school leaders anticipate a learning deficit for their children following the temporary closure of schools. While parents are satisfied with the way in which children are being taught remotely, 40% say they are concerned about the long-term consequences for the education of their children. The AVS (a national association of school leaders) reports that three-quarters of the primary school teachers in the Netherlands feel remote teaching may lead to a learning deficit.
  • The Dutch Cabinet will today discuss whether the coronavirus containment measures currently in place are to be extended. At present schools, restaurants, bars and sport clubs are closed until 6 April. The same applies for hairdressers, barbers and massage parlours. The Prime Minister will hold a press conference this evening.
  • The Municipal Health Service (GGD) does not expected stricter measures beyond the extension of the 6 April deadline. In an interview on the national broadcaster NOS, the Director of the GGD Sjaak de Gouw said the difference between the present measures and a lockdown were small. ‘We are only allowed outdoors for essential tasks.’
  • Flower growers in the Westland south of The Hague say the coronavirus has had a dramatic effect on their business and many are facing bankruptcy. The crisis in this valuable sector is expected to last at least 10 weeks and losses are expected to run into 2 billion euro.
  • Hotel chains Van der Valk and Fletcher have offered facilities for coronavirus patients. These are patients whose health is not life threatening, but too dangerous to be treated at home.

Monday, 30th MARCH

There has been a sharp rise in the number of coronavirus patients admitted to hospital in the province of South Holland, according to the Public Health authority, RIVM. The head of infectious diseases modelling, Jacco Wallinga, called the trend “worrying”.

  • A special corona helpline has been put in place for elderly foreign-born residents of The Hague, providing information or a much-needed chat on the phone. The helpline, set up by senior citizen organisation, KBO-PCOB, is staffed by volunteers who also have a non-Dutch background. The phone number is 030 3400 600.
  • There has been a sharp rise in the number of coronavirus patients admitted to hospital in the province of South Holland, according to the Public Health authority, RIVM. The head of infectious diseases modelling, Jacco Wallinga, called the trend “worrying”.
  • Amid the extreme shortage of protective face masks against the coronavirus, a shipment of hundreds of thousands of masks made by a Chinese company had to be returned as they did not conform to safety standards. Medical care Minister Van Rijn spoke to the Chinese ambassador, Xu Hong, on Sunday about this urgent issue. China is currently the only country capable of supplying large numbers of medical masks.
  • The mayor of Zoetermeer, Charlie Aptroot, will retire on Tuesday. The Ministry of Internal Affairs has put on hold new appointments of mayors until the coronavirus crisis has passed. In our region, The Hague, Zoetermeer and Zoeterwoude will need to make do with an interim mayor in the meantime.
  • A wholesale fruit and vegetable company spontaneously began selling their fresh produce on the street in The Hague on Saturday. Police broke up the operation within hours. The company, that usually sells to restaurants, did not have a license to sell on the street and, because of their wholesale prices, attracted too many customers to comply with safety distances.
  • While most people made an effort to stay indoors over the weekend, kite surfers turned out in a large group on the Zuiderstrand, angering local residents.
  • In the night of Sunday to Monday, temperatures in Voorschoten dipped as low as 4,2 degrees below freezing, making it the coldest night in more than a year. Clear skies and a wind from the North Pole are predicted to keep the temperatures very low for the coming two days, after which there should be some warmer weather.

In cooperation with the regional broadcaster, Omroep West, www.Dutchbuzz.nl provides a daily summary of the day’s most important news by 13.00 each day.