- The total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the Netherlands stood at 49,804 on Thursday 25 June, health officials said, with a total of 6,097 people who lost their lives as a result of the disease.
- On the evening of Wednesday 24 June, the cabinet announced a number of relaxations of the corona measures from 1 July at a press conference.Basic rules will remain: keep a distance of 1.5 meters, and if you have complaints, stay at home and get tested for coronavirus as soon as possible. Avoid crowds, travel outside rush hour, and work from home as much as possible.In places where you do not have to make a reservation and where you do not receive questions about your health in advance, a maximum of one hundred people applies. This does not apply to places with a high flow of visitors (for example, museums, shops and libraries). There is no maximum there.In public transport, a non-medical mask is mandatory, and from 1 July all seats will be available, but the advice is still to travel outside rush hour as much as possible.
More people (also from different households) will be allowed to travel together in the car from 1 July. The advice is to wear a face mask, but it is not mandatory. People with a contact profession (hairdressers, sex workers, masseurs, driving instructors) do not have to comply with the 1.5 meter rule for customers.Outside, a maximum of 250 people can be together. That is exclusive of personnel. However, like almost everywhere, the 1.5 meter rule applies. Customers must have a permanent seat on terraces. There is no maximum if everyone has reserved and answered questions about their own health. There is no maximum number of visitors in zoos, amusement parks and at fairgrounds. Everyone must keep a distance of 1.5 meters.
Children up to and including the age of twelve do not have to keep a distance of 1.5 meters between themselves and adults. This is not necessary in schools or childcare.Primary schools were already open and secondary schools reopen fully after the summer holidays. Students do not have to keep a distance of 1.5 meters. However, they must keep a distance to the teacher.
Colleges and universities may also be opened further after the summer holidays to teach students back in the classroom. Everyone should keep a distance of 1.5 meters.All sports, both indoor and outdoor sports, may be practiced. This also applies to contact sports. Matches may also be played again. After a training or competition, athletes must again observe the 1.5 meter rule.
During competitions, the audience may sit or stand along the line. There is a maximum of 250 spectators. Audience can also be present again at games taking place in stadiums, but must keep a distance of 1.5 meters. Also in stadiums may again be public at matches.
- So far there have been no reported coronavirus deaths on two days in June, according to new figures from public health institute RIVM. On Monday 22 June, the RIVM reported no increase in the number of official COVID-19 deaths in the Netherlands, and although the overnight figure rose by 5 on Tuesday, these were related to deaths on Sunday and earlier in the month, RIVM said.Since testing was opened up to everyone with symptoms on 1 June, 170,000 tests have been completed. Of these, 1.4% or 2,357 tested positive. However, the percentage is still going down, the RIVM said. In the first wake of mass testing, 2% of the tests were positive, but that has now decreased to 0.9%. There are, however, strong regional variations, with the lowest positive rates in the north, Zeeland and southern parts of Limburg.The RIVM also said that 12,793 teachers, school staff and daycare workers have been tested for the virus since 1 June, and just 68 cases were positive. There is no difference in the testing results between the different sorts of schools, the RIVM said.
- The Dutch economy will shrink 6% this year because of the coronavirus crisis while unemployment will double by 2021, CPB (Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis) said in its June forecasts.Without a second wave, the economy will contract in 2020 but grow again by 3% in 2021, the CPB said. Unemployment will rise from 3.4% to 5% this year, and again to 7% next year. Public finances would be severely impacted but “they would not enter the danger zone.”At the same time, the agency warned of the ‘great uncertainties’ ahead, particularly the likely impact of a second wave, which would require tough measures on social distancing and further damage the economy.”The current government is facing major dilemmas,” said Pieter Hasekamp, director of CPB. “During the recovery phase, we need a managed withdrawal of state support, but the measure to which the government can withdraw depends on the speed of the recovery.”If there is a second wave GDP would decrease also in 2021, with unemployment rising to 10% and public debt increasing to over 75% of GDP,’ the agency said. The CPB’s forecasts, which have a key role when ministers draw up their budgets for the coming year, are roughly in line with those published by Rabobank earlier this month.
- 120 companies that received more than 6 million euros in support money to be able to continue to pay their staff have now been declared bankrupt. Minister Wopke Hoekstra of Economic Affairs and Climate announced this on Wednesday in response to questions from the Senate.Under the Temporary Emergency Bridging Measure for Sustained Employment (NOW), the companies that have since fallen over received an average of 50,400 euros from the UWV. The agency reported in early June that the total NOW benefit was 4.5 billion euros at that time. That money was paid to 123,000 employers, who employ 2.1 million people.The provision of advances will be stopped as soon as there is an indication of a moratorium or bankruptcy. According to the minister, however, it cannot be prevented that part of the NOW scheme ends up with companies that are ultimately declared bankrupt.Companies can qualify for the NOW scheme if they demonstrably have less income due to the corona crisis. They can then be reimbursed for part of the labor costs. The first application period for the scheme has now ended. Applications for the second term can be submitted from 6 July.
- Telecom providers are concerned about a bill that requests them to temporarily collect more data about people’s travel behavior and to share it anonymously. One of the concerns is that investigative services can access the information stored with providers.That is what sources in the telecom industry say to the NOS. The data concerned are intended for RIVM; the institute believes they can help fight coronavirus. When the law comes into force, providers may supply Statistics Netherlands with anonymised data about the movements of people between municipalities on a daily basis. The statistical office processes and combines the information with other sources and then forwards it to RIVM.For example, if there is an outbreak in Utrecht and data shows that there have been many people from Rotterdam shortly before, the institute can point this out to the GGD. In an explanation, RIVM compares this to a smoke detector: it is more likely to detect revivals of the virus.The sources that the NOS spoke to only wanted to be presented anonymously because the subject is politically sensitive. They agree that providers will have to build a new database as a result of the bill. Opinions differ about what ends up in that database and to what extent this can be traced back to individuals.
For example, providers must determine which municipality someone is from. One of the sources says that this means that the database will show which municipalities someone has been in the past 30 days by requesting data from a transmission tower. From this it can be deduced where, on average, someone has been most often, which is probably the place of residence.
This will require traceable data to determine who it is, for example a 06 number that is converted into a unique code. It remains the same, which would make it possible to find out who it is. Telecom expert Rudolf van der Berg, who works at consultancy firm Stratix, confirms this lecture.
Insiders within the telecom industry are concerned about the data collection, which could be of interest to investigative services, because this type of data is not currently being collected. Other sources say that the database does not show who it is. A fourth source cannot estimate whether the new database will lead to extra interest from investigative services, but does share concerns about its design.
Researcher Matthijs Koot, who obtained his PhD on data anonymity at the University of Amsterdam, says that all interpretations of the bill show that there is still a lot of ambiguity. “At the moment, there is indeed a chance that the legislation will be implemented in such a way that the data is not entirely anonymous,” he concluded.
Furthermore, sources have doubts about the usefulness and necessity of the measure. They are not so much concerned about the storage of the data by providers, but more about its processing when the information leaves an provider anonymously. Criticism shared by Jaap-Henk Hoepman, associate professor of privacy engineering at Radboud University in Nijmegen: “You can feel that there are risks involved.”
The Ministry of Economic Affairs says that the technical implementation of the law is still being examined by Statistics Netherlands, RIVM and the providers. Statistics Netherlands expects this to become clearer when the law comes into effect. The law, which still has to pass through the House of Representatives and the Senate, expires after one year, but can be extended. The proposal is separate from the corona app.
- If you want to travel abroad, you need a so-called health certificate in a number of cases. But how do you get there and in which countries is it valid? The answer is quite complicated. “Because no international agreements have yet been made. So in many different countries, many different rules apply,” says a KLM spokesman.The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has informed RTL Nieuws that it recommends travelers to check before departure whether they can travel to the country of destination and what measures apply there. This information can be found per country on the website nederlandwereldreed.nl and the various travel advice has been collected.In the Netherlands it currently works as follows: if you travel via a Dutch airport, you are requested as a passenger to have a health certificate with you. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to obtain a health certificate from your doctor or anyone else.At the moment, anyone traveling through a Dutch airport is asked to have such a document with them. According to a KLM spokesperson, the following countries are currently requesting this statement from people who wish to enter their airports: South Korea, Canada, Singapore, Italy, Aruba, Bonaire, France and Turkey.
However, other countries may also require other medical documents if you enter them by other means than by air. For example, people who want to enter Spain must be able to show a fully completed health certificate from the local GGD. And people visiting France must provide a full declaration of honor to declare that they have no symptoms of coronavirus.
These requirements may also differ for passengers from different countries. You can look up the exact requirements for each country worldwide, and for which nationality they apply. Incidentally, it often also applies the other way around. Passengers from various countries on the so-called EASA list (including Belgium, France, Italy, Sweden and Great Britain) must have completed the Health Screening Form of the RIVM upon arrival at a Dutch airport. They must show that before they enter the airport.
In some countries, a health certificate is not enough, says KLM. “In China, South Korea, Singapore, Turkey and Italy, a temperature test is also being conducted at some airports.” KLM does not currently fly to Turkey.
Some countries go even further, they have still closed their airspace to all or certain nationalities. Or the local authorities want you to take a corona test before departure, such as Curaçao and Bonaire. You can only enter those countries in the event of a negative result.
You can also have a test done via KLM Health Services. They work with a so-called PCR test. It is examined whether there are virus particles in the nasal or oral cavity. The result of that test comes within 24 to 32 hours, and the passenger is also supplied with an English-language certificate. The cost for this test is 179 euros.
“We only test people who are not covered by the Dutch test policy and who have no health problems or Covid-19 symptoms. Do you have complaints or do you develop complaints such as fever, cough, sore throat or rhinitis? Unfortunately we cannot test you and we refer you to the GGD “, can be read on their site.
But beware: this way of screening is not completely reliable, because such a test is only a snapshot. The passenger may still be in the incubation period where the virus cannot be found yet. Or that the passenger becomes infected between the time of the test and the start of his or her journey.