Netherlands: Prime Minister Rutte believes that the schools should remain open, “children do not get sick and do not transfer Corona to adults either

Netherlands: Prime Minister Rutte
Netherlands: Prime Minister Rutte

Netherlands: Prime Minister Rutte believes that the schools should remain open

“children do not get sick and do not transfer Corona to adults either

iteral text of the press conference after the Council of Ministers on 13 March 2020

Media text | 3/13/2020

Literal text of the press conference of Prime Minister Rutte after the Council of Ministers meeting on March 13, 2020.

Introductory statement by Prime Minister Rutte

dutch: https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/documenten/mediateksten/2020/03/13/letterlijke-tekst-persconferentie-na-ministerraad-13-maart-2020

Good afternoon. The Council of Ministers today was, of course, largely devoted to tackling the corona crisis. Obviously, the measures we announced yesterday are deeply rooted in people’s lives and I understand the concerns that it raises, the questions it raises, and at the same time we see that our society reacts and adapts very quickly and that is very special. I want to say something more about that. 

But we are of course aware that each of these measures has a price: in people’s personal lives, of course also in society, and that we must always try to find a good balance between them.

I understand that the decision about the schools we took yesterday has led to concerns, misunderstandings, but also annoyance. First of all, I would like to emphasize that we make all the trade-offs from the point of view of our public health, which is number 1. Medical experts advised us on this basis not to close the schools, although people should stay at home. 

That goes for students, that goes for teachers, that goes for janitors. If they have complaints, a nose and / or sore throat and or cough with possibly a fever. It is also nice and important at the same time that the schools can remain open so that children can continue to go to school and parents can indeed continue to work. 

But of course we are aware of the problems that can arise in schools. If there are gaps, for example due to the loss of teachers, it is of course necessary to consider how to proceed within a school. 

Nor can we ask for the impossible. If that happens, that a school gets the feeling: now we are asked the impossible, I ask for my part, from the crisis organization, two things: in the first place, of course, the schools will also pay attention to the exam students , but also look at how you as a school can help in taking care of children of parents in vital sectors that are currently fighting the crisis. 

Sectors such as healthcare, sectors such as the police, the fire brigade, our security people, the security industry, but also the people who are working to ensure that our supermarkets, our drugstores, our food supply to keep it running smoothly. 

Find out how in that situation if it really would not go as a school how you can still help with the children of parents from these vital sectors. For us, from the crisis organization, it goes without saying that we will follow exactly how this is going. 

We will take a look at these kinds of measures we take every day, the situation as it develops and how we proceed. But this is my question and it is really important. We will take a look at these kinds of measures we take every day, the situation as it develops and how we proceed. But this is my question and it is really important. We will take a look at these kinds of measures we take every day, the situation as it develops and how we proceed. But this is my question and it is really important.

Then we made a decision today regarding flights from risk areas. That was an advice yesterday from the OMT, which is the club that advises us, to limit the influx of people who possibly carry coronavirus in the Netherlands as much as possible, it was decided to ban all passenger flights from high-risk areas in the shortest possible time. These are flights from the countries of Italy, China, including Hong Kong, South Korea and Iran. 

Flights from these four countries are no longer allowed to leave for the Netherlands after 6 p.m., that is after 6 p.m. tonight, because within the European Union such a measure can apply for a maximum of 14 days, this decision will initially apply until 27 March, but there is the possibility to extend that. 

If there is cause, other countries may also appear on this list and countries may also be included in the list. We will keep informing you of this. It only concerns passenger flights, so no cargo flights. And we look at the consequences for Dutch people who are currently present in those countries and who want to return.

We discussed today in the Council of Ministers the economic consequences of the crisis with Corona. This was also discussed yesterday in the parliamentary debate. An initial letter has been sent with a first set of measures this week to the House of Representatives that we are taking and we are now considering further measures and will report on this again next week. I also said that in the House yesterday. Money should not be the main subject here. The main topic here should be as it is called: whatever it takes . We must protect our economy from this crisis.

Then I want everyone in the Netherlands who had to deal with these measures yesterday and adapted so quickly, and this morning we saw the photos of people who had to take the train because they cannot work at home in their sector. Which showed the empty wagons. And then you see what a huge impact this has, but also how quickly people adapt. 

I am personally there, I think a lot of people, very impressed with how we do that together as a country. How we follow advice in such a crisis. I want that said here. But I also want to say how important it is that this happens, because it cannot be emphasized often enough. We can only solve this together, with 17 million people. We can only do that if we do it together. And to those people, and I think that’s a minority, but still, but there are those who say, well, I’m not too worried. 

I would like to say to those people: think of other more vulnerable people, who are rightly concerned, because they may be less strong, because they may be less young than yourself. So I’m telling everyone: stick to the new rules. And I also want to call on everyone to keep an eye on each other. And especially for the people who are having an extra hard time. 

Help each other where possible. Hoarding is not necessary. At the moment there is enough in our stores and it is also a bit annoying for the people who are working hard for us at the moment to fight the crisis that they come home tonight, go to the local supermarket and find the shelves half empty there, so it is actually not very nice for the people who are working hard for us at the moment. 

So I would say, if someone has a tendency, stop it. It is not necessary. Our drugstores, our supermarkets, there is enough to eat, and enough to buy. There are no shortages. And having said that, I would also like to express once again the appreciation for all the people who are currently working every day to ensure that things run smoothly. 

In all those sectors that are so vital to all of us. Yes, that is the doctors, that is the nurses, that is the pharmacists, that is also the people at the police, at the fire brigade, the teachers, the security guards, the people who fill the boxes in the supermarkets and the chemists and who are in charge there give to those stores. That is all very important. 

And we realize that a lot is being asked of you and that will continue for a while. But we are all in the Netherlands, and I say that on behalf of everyone, a lot of respect for what you do for all of us.

Then a very brief remark for you too, for our mutual understanding, of course, the Donner Committee was also discussed today. That is the committee that has dealt with that incredibly complicated and painful topic of childcare allowance issues, which has all happened. That committee has published a report on this. We take over that. 

And we are also coming up with additional measures for affected parents with very distressing problems and for the sake of brevity I would actually like to refer to Alexandra van Huffelen and Tamara van Ark, because they will explain in a moment after this press conference in this room what steps we are going to put there. 

Corona measures 

STEMERDINK (NOS)
Mister Rutte, the unrest in schools about the measure to be open on Monday is really great. Why do you keep the best decision to keep schools open Monday?

RUTTE
For the reason I just mentioned. And that is that we do this based on the advice. The people who know all about it say: from public health – and that should be our first priority – based on that public health, we have to make the decision: can those schools remain open? And then it is important that those children can also receive lessons there. 

And I realize, if it really doesn’t work, it won’t work. It may be that there are too many holes. But then I say, look, in such a situation, if it really would not work, in many schools it will work, but maybe it will not work because there are too many holes, because there are too many worries,

STEMERDINK
But in schools there are hundreds, maybe thousands of students, in large schools. They can infect each other and go home to see their parents. How safe is that really?

RUTTE

Because children of this age, and that is the medical advice of all experts available to us, the risk of infection in children of that age is limited. If a child is sniffling, or has a worse cold, or develops a fever – and that goes for teachers and caretakers and other support staff, you will go home immediately. But as long as that is not the case, children can go to school because the chance of infection is then very small.

STEMERDINK
But do you understand that people find it disturbing when they look at other countries in Europe, where the government undoubtedly also depends on experts, that they see that the schools are closing there. That is of course very difficult for people to understand.

RUTTE
Countries make various considerations in this regard. But here, for the Netherlands, we do this based on all the advice we have. That it is also important that society can function well across the board. The children go to school, the parents – especially in the sectors that are so important – can do their work. And that this way we can guide our society well through this crisis.

STEMERDINK
Now you see that some schools say: we have so many sick, we just close. Others say: even though the teacher coughs: we remain open because we do not want to send those children home. Isn’t that too messy?

RUTTE
Ultimately we have sensible people in the Netherlands and I explain clearly here that if you, I will say exactly how we describe it: if you have a cold and or have a sore throat and or cough with possibly a fever, whether you are a student or caretaker or teacher, then you go home.

STEMERDINK
How long do you think this is sustainable, the situation at those schools?

RUTTE
I hope we can continue to do this as best we can in the near future, but we will of course look at that day by day. But by doing this, the schools also contribute to these pupils being able to receive education and, at the same time, to continue functioning well as a society.

STEMERDINK Finally,
on behalf of the viewers of the Youth News, children who are probably now also at home and who may also be watching television. Can you explain why children are allowed to sit together with a lot of people and a lot of parents are asked to separate?

RUTTE
Contrary to a normal flu, in which the children often transmit the flu, this flu is very small, according to all people who look at it very sensibly, that you can transfer it from a child. And that is not only with children, it is also with young adults. This is actually the case in people up to about 20 years. Then that chance is very small. 

So then it is not necessary to close schools. If you do close the schools, you will of course also be doing things differently in society – this will have all kinds of effects on our society. It is important that children receive good education. There are also children who go to the final exams who want to have a good education, but it is also important that therefore the moms and dads of the children who are now being taught by the teachers and masters,

STEMERDINK
You say, the chance is small, but are you really sure that it is the safest decision for those children?

RUTTE
That’s what all the experts who advise us say, based on all the studies out there, that it’s the most sensible decision.

QUESTION
Mister Rutte, it was only the beginning of this week that you were in the Ministry of Justice and there were still shaking hands and then the advice was: do not shake hands. And a few days later, now, the show is more serious, the measures are much more serious. What has been the most important turning point for the cabinet this week?

RUTTE
And so there will be more moments when we need to take extra measures. It may not stop here. More measures may be needed. It may also be that further measures are taken regionally on the basis of the responsibility of security regions. That is all possible. I have always said it: The Netherlands is sick and the patient needs a medicine. 

And you watch every time, and you stay ahead of the wave as much as possible, to make sure that you continue to increase that medicine every time, to make sure the patient gets better again. And so we took measures Monday with that clumsy handshake of mine. Anyway, that may have, it was not intended, underlined once again: then stop it. But also last Thursday,

QUESTION
But the question was: what was the main tipping point this week?

RUTTE
Jaap van Dissel of RIVM explained this in the press conference, so I would not like to repeat it all now. But he explained in detail yesterday the situation in Brabant, the situation in a number of other places in the Netherlands and that experts have said in the OMT, the club that advises us with all the expertise on board, that it is wise to supplement the measures that were taken now to take this package of measures and it may well be that in the coming days it will be necessary to take further measures. Then we will do the same.

QUESTION
Many people then wonder: should the measures presented yesterday not have to be started earlier?

RUTTE
What you do with the sick patient is to look very precisely every time: how does it respond to the medicines we administer. And what is the use of subsequently aggravating medicines. Yesterday in the House of Representatives I mentioned the example that we are now saying from Thursday given the state of development: do not visit grandparents if this is not necessary and certainly not all you sniff. 

Last Monday I also asked RIVM that question, I say ‘would it be wise’. Then the conclusion was based on then, the spread of the virus, ‘no that actually makes no sense, because you will not transfer normal flu’, so if you have the flu it is also wise not to go to grandpa or grandma but not for this one. From Thursday, given the state of affairs then. And so you are watching very precisely every time: what is needed now. 

The measure yesterday has, of course, been taken. We are one of the few countries to limit 100 people to gatherings. That is where we belong to … Belgium goes a step further, but most other countries are pushing that limit a lot higher. So we took those measures very precisely. What you want to achieve with these measures is that the spread of the virus develops in such a way that you can let it extinguish conduction.

QUESTION So
you don’t think in retrospect that that was too little then?

RUTTE
No.

KOLE (RTL)
You already spoke about the economic consequences and now the Christian National Trade Union, the CNV, has made an appeal. They would like to discuss business economic issues with you, employers, Great Tit and Wiebes. Are you prepared to do that?

RUTTE
I haven’t seen that call yet. Of course I am prepared to sit down with everyone, but I also have to apply triage in my agenda, because I have to put my first priorities in public health together with Bruno Bruins. But of course I am also working on the economic consequences. 

Wopke Hoekstra, Wouter Koolmees and Eric Wiebes are also very busy with this. So we go, if that invitation is there, I did not know, then we go is very good look. Of course I would like to do that myself, but I think that is a good signal. It is also important that employers and employees are also willing to talk to us about measures.

COOL
Yes, because if we do nothing, says the CNV, a crisis of unprecedented magnitude is imminent that will affect millions of working Dutch people.

RUTTE
It cannot be predicted exactly how the crisis will intervene in the economy, but it is clear that it will have effects. That is obvious and whatever it takes.I said it in the House yesterday. In recent years we have reduced our government debt to a level that, if necessary, due to unwanted but perhaps manifesting rising unemployment costs, working time reduction, all kinds of other costs, we can accept a first blow of 10% on our budget of our national income. Then you talk about 80, 90 billion euros. That’s a lot of money. 

This also means that because that is the case, you may be able to look at sectors very specifically, also looking at sectors, in the coming period: what to do. We have taken a first set of measures: broadening the existing regulations, measures at the Tax and Customs Administration to give companies that are temporarily in trouble with payments and all kinds of other measures.

COOL
And can you say something about those measures that will come next week?

RUTTE
We always announce measures when we have them. We are busy preparing that again.

LENGTON (TELEGRAPH)
Yes, Mr. Rutte additionally, perhaps you can say something about our national airport and KLM. Is the cabinet working on this?

RUTTE
Certainly, there have also been talks this morning from involved ministers and the aviation sector, and we will continue with that. So the analysis is now being done and examined very intensively: what are the effects. These are, of course, considerable, which KLM has also brought out. That the effects are already great on society of course. We see that in the entire aviation sector now, all over the world. 

Those are big blows that have to be processed there now. That is a very important society for the Netherlands, not only because we are all proud of it, but also because it is of course of great importance for Schiphol and for our entire business climate. So we look at that with great care and you have to convert concerns into actions, so that is why initial conversations have taken place.

LENGTON
Yes, there is nothing concrete to report. For example, I understood that Air France is trying to get certain tax payments to be deferred to the French government. Is that something …

RUTTE
We look at everything. We look at everything, including what works now. In itself in the Netherlands, there is also the measure when it comes to paying tax for sectors that are in trouble to delay that tax debt. But I don’t know if that’s exactly for this society … I wasn’t there this morning either. So I know that the conversation has taken place, I know that it is very much appreciated on both sides, I know that people are now working on further developing this, making the analysis and there is no doubt that we are of course there too to assist.

LENGTON
Can you perhaps say something about when more clarity is expected?

RUTTE
Not at this time. I want to sort it out for you, but I think as soon as possible. But I don’t have the time right now.

LENGTON
Is actually lobbying for that entry ban, which the US wants to impose on flights from the EU to the US to get that off the table.

RUTTE
This is of course a measure across a very broad front. We, of course, are now also publishing a measure about an entry ban on risk flights, so you cannot criticize the instrument in itself, but this is very unfocused and has not been announced, so we object to this. And there are of course the necessary contacts from within the EU.

QUESTION (NOS STORIES)
Mr. Rutte, I will come back to education. We have over half a million high school students as followers on the NOS Stories Instagram channel. They are very concerned. They see that measures are being taken everywhere, but they are still with more than 100 together in the auditorium. And they say: we can easily take care of ourselves at home while our parents do the work. What do you say to that?

RUTTE
Well, to begin with, I want to tell the students that I understand that they have concerns, because it is also intense what happens. At the same time, I would also like to say that all the scientific evidence and material we have, and all the advice that the risk of contamination among young people under 20 is actually from 0 to 20 is limited. That it is also important to look at the same time to look: how can you ensure that this is so limited that society can function as normally as possible, especially the students who may be looking towards the final exams. 

At the same time, if there are gaps in your school that really do not work anymore, we also understand that you have not been kept until it is impossible. That is not possible. But then we say to your teachers: look at this, what can you do with the students who are going to the final exam, but also with students who are not old enough to take care of themselves at home. Of which the parents say: yes, if it comes home, then I actually have to stay at home. 

From sectors that are so important to all of us. The people who ensure that the boxes are filled at the drugstores and supermarkets, the people in the security, the police, the fire brigade, the people in the care. And other sectors that are now leading us through the crisis. See how you as a school can take care of those students. The people who ensure that the boxes are filled at the drugstores and supermarkets, the people in the security, the police, the fire brigade, the people in the care. 

And other sectors that are now leading us through the crisis. See how you as a school can take care of those students. The people who ensure that the boxes are filled at the drugstores and supermarkets, the people in the security, the police, the fire brigade, the people in the care. And other sectors that are now leading us through the crisis. See how you as a school can take care of those students.

QUESTION (NOS STORIES)
But these students say: we are old enough to take care of ourselves at home, so that we might limit risk.

RUTTE
I understand , but the tricky part is, of course, I can never determine exactly where parents like the children to be alone at home and where parents choose to stay at home in such a situation. And then we say to the school because you can never determine this nationally: look at what you can do to provide childcare in that case, at least for parents who are now so important for fighting the crisis.

QUESTION (NOS STORIES)
You just said: if, for example, there are holes in some schools, then a school has to see for itself how the situation is being dealt with, where the school can help in this. How do you look at the progress of the final exams then?

RUTTE
Of course we hope that by that time it has turned out to be possible to prepare students as well as possible and to pass the final exams, but of course we are currently looking at everything from hour to hour, from day to day, from week to week. week. And where necessary, we take additional measures. So I can’t rule out that it will happen here too.

QUESTION
I would like to talk a bit about the supermarkets. There is hoarding. They hunt for toilet paper and pasta. Albert Heijn already has temporary shortages. You say: I am not afraid of that, of shortages. But how long do we have enough?

RUTTE
The food industry assures us that there is enough to eat, drink and toilet paper on its own. The problem is that people are now hoarding and what I find unbelievably, frankly, not social, in the Netherlands where we are reacting so well to all those measures at the moment, that this is also happening. And I find this a pity. So my appeal is to the people who do that: don’t do that, it’s not necessary. And if tonight people come home who have worked in health care to fight this crisis or the police, or other places, they might come to the shelf and there, and then the food is gone, or then the paper towels. So why would you do that?

QUESTION
How long is there?

RUTTE
According to the Central Food Agency, there is no shortage in the Netherlands at all. We are the second food producing country in the world. There is no shortage of stuff in the Netherlands.

QUESTION
Yet another question, more generally, you say: the elderly are the most vulnerable group. Do not visit grandparents if you have a cold. The elderly are the people who are 80 or does it start at 60, 70. Who are the elderly?

RUTTE
We say the elderly, but that is very different. Of course you have people who are a bit younger and older, just in terms of constitution, also depends on how you have lived your life or had illnesses. Depends on all kinds of things. So you can never quite puncture that. But I think everyone senses that at some point people start to grow older and become more vulnerable. Also wiser through all these years. 

That is of course the beauty of aging, but well, in this case the physical condition applies, and then applies to the elderly, but also people with reduced resistance. That can be people with lung complaints, or heart complaints, or severe diabetes or cancer. 

Look, we say: dude, try to limit your visit to that. And we certainly also advise against the elderly themselves and people with a reduced resistance at all, because this not only applies to the elderly, this also generally applies to people with a reduced resistance, also young people can of course have heart problems or lung problems or other serious complaints, even then we say: avoid companies and the use of public transport. Then don’t do that.

COURT (VOLKSKRANT)
About those entry bans. Why exactly, on what basis, on what criteria were these four countries chosen and how can you revise that because this pandemic is spreading of course. The picture changes daily. So it may also be that you suddenly change country again, what is the process for that?

RUTTE
This cannot be cut exactly. In a crisis like this, it is not possible to have a negotiated decision-making framework for years with every decision you make. So in the end, in such a crisis, you also have to weigh it on the hand. But these are countries that we are now announcing that we know of, South Korea, Iran, China, including Hong Kong and Italy, which are countries that are currently badly hit. 

Also countries that are sometimes already trying to get out of that crisis. Take China, for example. That is why it is conceivable that countries will be off the list in the near future. But countries can also be added. But we will discuss this very precisely with RIVM, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and we will of course also look at travel advice. You look at a wide range of things.

HOFS
But can that change every day?

RUTTE
Yes, that can change every day.

HOFS
So in principle tomorrow can countries be added?

RUTTE
Certainly. At least that is possible. Sure you can, not that it happens. Sure it can.

HOFS
Another question: is it not much more effective to coordinate the fight against this pandemic, to coordinate there at European level? Because every country is now doing its own things. In France, for example, the schools will close. Not here then. In Germany I believe that 100 people may gather, in other countries 1000. Why is there no more coordination at European level, because yes, of course, this virus does not keep to the borders?

RUTTE
No. First of all, the fact that Europe is not a country, and I would say I am happy about that in itself because I wouldn’t be there for that, but the fact that Europe is not a country, but of course we are a cooperation countries in the EU also implies that some matters are regulated nationally. Healthcare systems are national. 

There are also major differences between countries in how they do it. The system in the Netherlands with the GPs as gatekeeper, the GGD, the RIVM, and the others who play a major role in our fine-grained system of our healthcare on the basis of which our pandemic response has been set up, is now also running. we have developed that entire manual, that entire crisis manual is currently also being used – we have developed it very carefully. Also regarded in the world as an effective approach. That is arranged differently in other countries. 

So to start with there are always national differences in a European Union which is not a country, but member states that are members of an association there are simply national differences. And of course, what we do try and there you have a point, is to coordinate more. That is why there was also a meeting of European leaders, government leaders and president in the European Council last Tuesday. 

First time through a video connection. There have also been consultations this week, several times, within the Benelux of which the Netherlands is the chairman this year, with the prime ministers Bruno Bruins has consultations with a large number of colleagues in the field of public health. But, and when it comes to the fact that at some point

Germany and France took national protective measures for personal protective equipment, of which the Netherlands often does not have its own production, so we often depend on imports from other areas, from companies, etc. . 

And these are sometimes countries that have their own production. Then it is also the Netherlands that says to the European Commission: intervene here. Then the EC also has a role. So in many cases the EC can also intervene. And I must say, the EC does that and does it effectively. So there is cooperation, but it is inevitable that in a Europe of sovereign Member States there are major national differences. of which the Netherlands often does not have its own production, so we often depend on imports from other areas, from companies, etc. 

And these are sometimes countries that have their own production. Then it is also the Netherlands that says to the European Commission: intervene here. Then the EC also has a role. So in quite a few cases, the EC can also intervene. And I must say, the EC does that too and does it effectively. So there is cooperation, but it is inevitable that in a Europe of sovereign Member States there are major national differences. of which the Netherlands often does not have its own production, so we often depend on imports from other areas, from companies, etc. 

And these are sometimes countries that have their own production. Then it is also the Netherlands that says to the European Commission: intervene here. Then the EC also has a role. So in quite a few cases, the EC can also intervene. And I must say, the EC does that too and does it effectively. So there is cooperation, but it is inevitable that in a Europe of sovereign Member States there are major national differences. 

So in quite a few cases, the EC can also intervene. And I must say, the EC does that too and does it effectively. So there is cooperation, but it is inevitable that in a Europe of sovereign Member States there are major national differences. So in quite a few cases, the EC can also intervene. And I must say, the EC does that too and does it effectively. So there is cooperation, but it is inevitable that in a Europe of sovereign Member States there are major national differences.

HOFS
Apparently also about scientific insights? Because apparently in France people think it is dangerous if children just keep going to school, while in principle, yes, medical science should agree, you would think.

RUTTE
Well, we base ourselves in any case on our advisors. And again, that is also regulated nationally.

DE KRUIT (NEWS HOUR)
A little more about those flights that are no longer allowed to land from risk areas tonight, why was this choice now made?

RUTTE
Yesterday the OMT advised to do this. So it was said yesterday: given the state of the crisis with Corona, it is important to take a whole package of additional measures. We all did that yesterday, except one. This was on the list you have to do, but we said yesterday: we want to know exactly how we organize this between passenger flights and freight flights, because it may sometimes be necessary – also to combat the crisis – that those freight flights continue. That took time. 

It took a while – well what is it, not 24 hours, 20 hours approximately between the advice and the announcement and it was necessary to arrange that very precisely. And, but it is therefore part of that next step that we are now taking on a broad front in the fight.

DE KRUIT
Was it considered to do this earlier, because the Dutch infections also came from abroad in the first place?

RUTTE
We base ourselves on the advice of experts and they constantly build it up. Those are, of course, packages that can grow. Of course there are also conceivable measures on the shelf if that were necessary – your question could be: what are those conceivable measures and I never want to speculate about that, but of course we always think about what will be needed in the near future if necessary to further increase the dose of medicines for the patient in the Netherlands. This dose was included in this package as part of the package.

DE KRUIT
So not too late for you?

RUTTE
No.

DE KRUIT
Another question, more and more countries are declaring a state of emergency, how far is the Netherlands from there?

RUTTE
That is not necessary for the Netherlands. I am not exactly educated under constitutional law what the benefits of a state of emergency would be and whether we know it exactly. I should have that informed. But at the moment I can tell you that the crisis organization is able to take all necessary decisions on the basis of existing laws and regulations. There has been nothing in the past few weeks where I thought: that is where the government or our state or our division of responsibilities gets in my way. Absolutely nowhere.

THE POT So
not a state of emergency?

RUTTE
Does not seem necessary to me, but yes, if so, I will look again at what it means exactly if you would do it here and whether it even exists in the Netherlands, such a phase. I am not an expert in that area of ​​constitutional law. But in any case, the existing laws and regulations did not get in my way. In fact, as I just said, the roadmap pandemics that we are currently working on, which we developed 15 years ago, gives us every opportunity to obtain expert advice at every stage and to make the necessary decisions based on that expert advice.

NIJS (SBS)
The schools remain open, because children up to the age of 20 cannot be infected. At the same time…

RUTTE
Then the risk is a lot … then the risk is smaller. You can never say not getting infected.

NIJS
Exactly, so those children can all just move around at school. But at the same time she is requested not to visit grandpa and grandma because they might infect them. What’s up with that?

RUTTE
Yes what you see there of course is that in a general sense applies to children and everyone in those schools: if you sniffle or have a cold at all, I just mentioned the things and I always want to say that very precisely so I repeat it yet again briefly. Then you talk about: nose colds and or sore throat and or cough with possibly a fever, then you do not go to grandparents or people who have a reduced resistance. That is unwise then.

NIJS
So healthy children can just visit grandparents?

RUTTE
Well the whole problem there is that very small children naturally carry the risk that they have a normal influenza, so a normal flu that we can all get in the Netherlands, which we know. And then there is of course the risk that grandpa and grandma would later also be affected by this virus in a different way, or of course get a very dangerous combination.

NIJS
But if you are crazy and you are a child, can you just visit grandpa and grandma?

RUTTE
No, because you never know whether children carry that influenza virus. That normal flu virus that we all know in the Netherlands. And that in combination with grandpa or grandma who can also get something worse, you should not have that. Moreover, if children sniff, there is a risk. And that is why we also say: stay home even when we are in school. Also applies to teachers, also applies to janitors.

QUESTION
RIVM is again announcing a higher number of infections. What level of control do we currently have?

RUTTE
What you see now is of course that the virus is still spreading, the number of infections. And it is conceivable that people who we do not have in view are also infected. This may also include housemates who have not been tested, because they are currently in isolation or quarantine with their partner. At the moment the counter is at 804.

And what I want to emphasize here is: how sad we all I think we are and how much we sympathize with the relatives of the five people who had to be reported today who have also died since yesterday’s previous report. , whereby a total of 10 corona patients have now died. Those are the numbers. Then, on the basis of the crisis organization, we look at how this is developing every day and as soon as the experts find a reason to say: now the dose must be increased, the dose of medicine, then I can assure then all measures are ready to do that. 

That was what we did yesterday because of the … it is not only about the numbers where you are looking at, but you also have to look: how does it develop in Brabant, where we are no longer actually in the dam phase, but in the next stage. You also see a few developments, which I also sketched yesterday in the Chamber, in South Limburg, Jaap van Dissel, RIVM, has said that. A few other places you say “that raises extra concern” about that situation. Reason for the OMT to take this comprehensive package of measures. how does it develop in Brabant, where in fact we are no longer in the dam phase, but in the next phase. 

You also see a few developments, which I also sketched yesterday in the Chamber, in South Limburg, Jaap van Dissel, RIVM, has said that. A few other places you say “that raises extra concern” about that situation. Reason for the OMT to take this comprehensive package of measures. how does it develop in Brabant, where in fact we are no longer in the dam phase, but in the next phase. You also see a few developments, which I also sketched yesterday in the Chamber, in South Limburg, Jaap van Dissel, RIVM, has said that. A few other places you say “that raises extra concern” about that situation. Reason for the OMT to take this comprehensive package of measures.

QUESTION
And still feel with those measures available that there is a certain degree of control?

RUTTE
Under control … it is increasing . So in that sense, that number is out of control, because it’s increasing. But that cannot be the ambition now either. The ambition must now be to ensure that the peak in healthcare is avoided. You want to avoid suddenly a very high spike, a peak, arises in access to care, and certainly to intensive care, to IC capacity. So what you are doing is trying to get the virus back under control as best you can. The number of follow-up infections is as small as possible, which is why you also take yesterday’s measures. 

These are actually self-isolation measures and they are now being taken en masse in the Netherlands, which considerably reduces the chance of spreading, so that if it continues to increase and that chance is of course very high that it will increase further in the coming period and those numbers still significantly may be higher that you will at least appear in the health care system that a peak arises there.

HENDRIKX (VOLKSKRANT)
Yes, you often emphasize that we must do this together with 17 million people to get this virus put out. Can you say something, say, a perspective: what should people take into account? How long have we been engaged in this fight then?

RUTTE
That can take a while. I cannot predict that. That also depends on how well we are able to, eventually, put this growth back on a par. It is of course interesting to see how this continues to develop in Brabant in the near future. The measures that were taken a little longer ago. Yesterday’s package of measures will also have to become visible in the figures at some point. If that is not enough, we will add extra medicine, add extra measures, but I cannot predict anything about the duration or the number. 

At least we try to ensure that this runs smoothly, but I cannot give any certainty about that. That cannot be given. What we do is to ensure, per phase, that you prevent the peak of care needs from occurring as much as possible.

HENDRIKX So
it can also take a long time?

RUTTE
Yes, anything is possible, but we are not sure of course. We try to prevent that, of course.

BOONMAN (TODAY)
Yes, Mr. Rutte, perhaps a little weird, but one thing I noticed during the debate yesterday, that you said at some point: we cannot of course solve this problem with 150 men and the cabinet and so on. You just said, also appealing to citizens not to behave too antisocial by hoarding. You don’t use that word antisocial. Anti-social.

RUTTE
I did not use socially.

BOONMAN
But don’t you just ask citizens and in this House to trust in this crisis, trust me. I do the best that is possible.

RUTTE
Yes that’s right. And I do not mean myself as in the person of Prime Minister Mark Rutte, I mean that in the organization that we have for that, the crisis organization, which of course I ultimately lead with Bruno Bruins, Minister of Medical Care. And then I don’t expect people to suddenly trust in a prime minister or a minister of medical care. 

Then I think that the Netherlands has reason to trust the experts who advise us, and I can assure that we will of course always fight that advice over and over again. It never takes long, we do that briefly, questioning, asking questions. Is this really sensible? Shouldn’t there be more? Shouldn’t there be less? How exactly, this and that? And in the end you try together, and so far it has always been in consensus with the experts, to take the measure we must take. Does this guarantee that we always make the right decisions? 

No, I also said it yesterday in the press conference. You have to go through a crisis like this, which is really a lesson from crisis management. You must make 100% of the decisions based on a maximum of 50% of the knowledge you have. I was just asked: is there a complete assessment framework for risk flights? No. There is no time to make that now. I don’t think that’s relevant now to have it perfect, so you choose not to have it, but as best as possible. So you make triage every time, also here, you see, where do you have to be perfect? 

That is, for example, about IC capacity, about resources. Of course you try to do it all as well as possible. But there are also things that you say in a crisis: you know, it’s just under 10, it’s a 6 or a 7 but it’s good enough. We have enough material here to decide which countries we no longer want to have here. 

This is how it works in a crisis and mistakes will be made. That is inevitable. The most important thing in this core process is that we administer the infusion for the patient, the drug infusion, and the tap that is on it, that we manage it together as well as possible, based on all the knowledge that is available.

QUESTION
Concluding about corona, the weekend is upon us. I think a lot of young people plan or have planned to go out. Others have planned a dinner party. What do you think, should people do it or not?

STEMERDINK (NOS)
The catering industry is not closed, so, but pay attention, if you are in that catering industry, make sure, and also against the catering establishments, that those numbers are manageable there. Also, of course, if you do not feel completely fit yourself, do not go there. Don’t take that risk. Don’t go do that to others. So do that a bit with policy, as we actually do in all phases now of this crisis response. 

And especially after yesterday and I was most impressed this morning with those photos of the empty trains that I think: yes, this works. This is really also the Netherlands. In the end, we can all really grumble, even if we want, about everything, but if necessary, we will be there too. 

And I think that is really proof again these days. And I think young people are perfectly capable this weekend if they just want to have a nice evening with some friends to have that. But just pay attention a little. Not large groups. And if you don’t feel fit, stay home.

State visit to Indonesia

HOEDEMAN (GENERAL DAY SHEET)
Mister Rutte, just a completely different subject. The state visit to Indonesia has been completed. Located a week ago you said in this place that there was nothing to be expected in terms of excuses. What happened after that press conference?

RUTTE
I explained that. I thought the question was much more about apologies for the colonial past. I assumed that it is more widely known in the Netherlands that since 2005 Ben Bot, 2011, 2013 the Ambassador, 2016, Koenders the Minister of Foreign Affairs. But don’t apologize yet, but ’11, ’13, and ’16 for let’s say the violent derailments that took place after the proclamation of August 17, 1945.

HOEDEMAN
How do you explain the excitement? According to the King, there was nothing new? I quote literally. Then why the excitement?

RUTTE
Because I realize and that is, of course, the fact that apologies have been made earlier by an ambassador and a foreign minister, I myself did not utter them in an official speech, it is quite a difference whether that is from an ambassador or a minister versus the head of state. The impact of the head of state who repeats the same texts in imitation of his government in Indonesia is of course greater. 

Then it is more the man, the position, also the place where it happened. And that in itself of course has a special meaning. I realize that. And I also realize, I was talking about it with Stef Blok today, both our past in our families in the Indies and later Indonesia, these are all families in which there is a lot of emotion over the generations about all these things, a lot of discussion ,

HOEDEMAN
Did the King also like to say it herself because his mother was not allowed to?

RUTTE
I never say anything about the King, you know that. The King speaks everything in official capacity, he speaks under ministerial responsibility. 

more news: https://www.covid-19.no/take-this-seriously-coronavirus-change-your-life

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