Today has been a whirlwind for the Netherlands. Following crisis talks on Sunday, further talks this morning and the unofficial announcement of some very strict new measures, the country was all ears as Prime Minister spoke to us from the Torentje. What did he have to say?Ā 

The Prime Minister was looking solemn from behind his desk tonight, saying that his previous warnings have become a reality. While everything was looking prim and proper inside, whistling could be heard from the streets outside ā€” these were the whistles of protestors.

“Good evening, sadly I have to address you again,” he began. “More than a week ago I told you that new measures were not unthinkable if numbers would rise. Numbers are rising, we’re going in lockdown for at least five weeks. The Netherlands will be closed.”

“The Netherlands will be closed”

Following reports from The Hague this morning, Rutte has confirmed the latest measures that will take effect. These will include the closing of schools from today on as well as the closing of all non-essential shops and many public buildings.

READ MORE |Ā Dutch lockdown: these are the measures taking effect from December 15

“We must return to March”

Rutte pushed the seriousness with which these new measures have to be taken, urging listeners to throw their minds back to March and the scenes of empty streets. “This is where we have to go back to again,” he said.

He urged people to consider the hard losses that families and business owners alike have suffered, saying that in order for the Netherlands to reduce this harm these latest measures must be followed.

“Many people have lost their loved ones, businesses are in peril, people need contact around Christmas. But that’s why we need to make sure to follow the rules and take care of each other.”

Together against coronavirus

The Prime Minister appealed to what remains of Christmas spirit in the Netherlands by asking that the country unifies as one against the coronavirus.

This needs to happen

He urged that the Netherlands now needs to help its healthcare system, which is suffering under the latest numbers. He stressed that the coronavirus is not to be taken lightly and addressed the noise coming from outside his window.

Protestors

Whilst the speech was read from the teleprompter the Prime Minister’s speech did not run smoothly due to the loud whistling and jeering coming from outside. According to reports on social media, this noise came from a small but loud group standing outside the building.

He took a moment to go off script and address the noise that could be clearly overheard. “It’s not the flu, or something like that like the people outside are thinking perhaps,” Rutte said as he pointed out the window ā€” clarifying our suspicion that those are not the whistles and jeers of avid fans.

Returning to the facts

The Prime Minister then turned to the facts. “Every day there are more than 60 deaths from coronavirus, 9,000 cases and many more bad figures.” He uses these numbers to stress how important healthcare is at this moment, saying that roughly 6,000 more people would have died in the Netherlands if it were not for the health support they received.

For healthcare

He stresses that the latest restrictions have to happen for the sake of healthcare and thanks its workers for their service during the pandemic.

“Many thanks and admiration again for those on the frontline of the health service. This is why we got to have this lockdown, which will come down to this.”

A “bitter pill” for businesses

Rutte acknowledges that these latest restrictions will be a “bitter pill.” He claimed that this is now a necessity and that further subsidies will be made available to help support entrepreneurs and their staff.

“A year of hope”

Rutte concluded his speech with a bit of hope. He asked listeners to look at 2021 as a nearby refuge from this crisis.

“There will be a moment when we leave coronavirus behind us, not next week but in 2021. That will be a year of hope.” He has asked that the nation power through this (hopefully) final stage of the crisis, saying “we need more perseverance, it’s hard, help each other, think about the heroes in healthcare and despite everything ā€” have a good holiday.”

Indeed, this holiday period will be rough. What are your thoughts on the latest measures?

Feature Image: DutchReview

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