Tuesday 22 September 2020

MPs criticise chaotic government coronavirus strategy after three days of 600+ infections

Lodewijk Asscher during the debate. Photo: Remko de Waal ANP

A further 654 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the Netherlands, and nine more people have been admitted to hospital, according to new figures from the health ministry’s Covid-19 dashboard.

Over 600 people a day have been diagnosed with the virus for the past three days, but officials said on Wednesday that Tuesday’s shock 779 total included 155 people who had not been officially registered in the previous four weeks.

The figures came as MPs debated the government’s coronavirus strategy, with parliamentarians from across the political spectrum criticising both policy and the way ministers are communicating with the public.

The efforts made by healthcare workers, by companies who have lost work and by people cut off from friends and family should not have been in vain, said Labour leader Lodewijk Asscher during the debate.

The government’s strategy of the past week has been chaotic, Asscher said. ‘You cannot say on Thursday that we are not going to force people to do things and then…on Tuesday… come out with a requirement,’ he said, referring to the decision to introduce compulsory quarantine.

Together, government and opposition, should work together now to draw up a clear, ambitious strategy, Asscher said.

Testing should be made easier, particularly for people who don’t have a car and can’t get to the test centres. Contact tracing should be stepped up with more people and clear targets. And officials should work together with schools to make sure they can open their doors on Monday, and are properly ventilated, he said.

‘Put together a quarantine package, that is to say, do something for everyone we are asking to stay in isolation for two weeks,’ he said. This could be help for people who lose income because they don’t work, a hotel room if they need to remove themselves from others and a shopping service if that proves necessary.

DutchNews.nl will carry a further report from the debate on Thursday morning.

Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl

The DutchNews.nl team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation in recent weeks. Your financial support has helped us to expand our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and make sure you are kept up to date with the latest developments.

DutchNews.nl has been free for 14 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.

If you have not yet made a donation, but would like to, you can do so via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.