Saturday 06 June 2020

Dutch Covid-19 death toll rises by 28, public transport readies for more passengers

Masked mannequins in a clothes shop in Amsterdam’s Jordaan. Photo: DutchNews.nl

The Dutch official coronavirus death toll rose by 28 on Thursday to 5,590, the public health institute RIVM said in its Thursday update. A further 27 people were admitted to hospital and 270 people tested positive for coronavirus.

The real death toll is likely to be some 40% higher, based on actual deaths since coronavirus hit the Netherlands at the end of February.

The government is due to announce next week or the week after if it can move on to the next phase in easing the lockdown – and the spread of the virus is key in determining this.

The figures also come as public transport companies publish their plans to cope with an expected rise in passenger numbers from June 1, when secondary schools start up again and people can visit museums, cafes and restaurants in limited numbers.

The protocol states that conductors and ticket inspectors will not single out travellers who are not wearing face masks, even though they will be compulsory on public transport from June 1.

‘Wardens will not actively look for people who are breaking the rules on wearing face masks and keeping the proper distance, but will monitor the situation,’ the protocol states.

Ticket inspectors and other officials will speak to passengers who are not following the rules and focus on ‘de-escalating’ situations.

‘If passengers don’t comply, they can be fined,’ the protocol says, without specifying how high the penalty will be. Trains, trams and buses will run according to normal schedules from June 1.

So far nearly 10,000 people have been fined by police and street wardens for not keeping the proper distance in public or for forming illegal groups.

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