Belgian virologist slams Dutch coronavirus sceptic in Twitter spat


A bitter Twitter dispute between Dutch coronavirus sceptic Willem Engel and Belgian virologist Marc Van Ranst is appearing on advertising hoards all over the Netherlands following a successful crowdfunding campaign.

Alexander Klöpping, who founded the online magazine kiost Blendle, raised €25,000 in less than a day to pay for the campaign. He started fund raising after Engel said Van Ranst – who is currently in hiding after being threatened by a heavily-armed far-right soldier on the run – was personally to blame personally for his plight.

Engel, one of the founders of Dutch coronavirus sceptic organization Viruswaarheid, said on Twitter that the threats made against Van Ranst were partly due to his role in ‘deliberately’ sowing what he called ‘the pandemic of fear’.

Van Ranst responded by saying that what Engel, a former dance teacher, knows about virology, epidemiology and immunology could be written on the back of stamp with space left over.

‘You can have an opinion,’ Engel retorted, before suggesting Van Ranst could give lessons in ‘deception or scams’.

Van Ranst replied, saying that he would listen to Engel with pleasure if there was ever a salsa pandemic. ‘But in the meantime, I don’t give a flying fuck what you are trying to sell,’ he said. ‘And it would be better if the Netherlands did not either.’

Klöpping said that Van Ranst deserved the widest possible support and that the Twitter thread should be read by as many people as possible. His initial target of raising €2,000 mounted quickly to €25,000.

‘The thread will be shown at more than 2,000 locations, from petrol stations to bus stops, from shops to Schiphol,’ Klöpping said.

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