The House of Representatives has concluded in favor of the Cabinet’s approach to the coronavirus. On Tuesday in Parliament’s debate on the latest situation, the House was very difficult with government policy. Not only the opposition but also the coalition was more than critical. According to Lodewijk Asscher (PvdA), the corona policy of the duo Mark Rutte and Hugo de Jonge is “under guardianship”.
The House of Representatives was unequivocally harsh on the Cabinet’s corona approach. Although the parties have become increasingly critical in recent months, the opinion of most groups remained mild and constructive. It̵
“So far, we have shown favoritism, because it is a crisis,” said GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver. Now, seven months after the start of the pandemic, the test policy is deteriorating and the GGDs are struggling with staff shortages to carry out the source and the contact investigation, the tone has changed.
“The cabinet is making a mess of it,” says PVV leader Geert Wilders. Lilian Marijnissen (SP): “The Cabinet has lost its grip and is losing support for the measures.”
At the same time, the numbers of pollutants are increasing day by day and the situation is worrying. The Netherlands is facing a second wave. After the Cabinet announced further action for six problem regions on Friday, eight more are likely to be added this week, Prime Minister Rutte said.
‘Test, track and isolate worried’
The misunderstanding grows in the house. Why can the Netherlands not get the test policy and detect infections from the soil, which the government considers crucial to fight viruses? “Testing, tracking and isolating is worrying,” concluded Christian Union MP Carla Dik-Faber.
Prior to the debate, it was revealed that ten thousand test applications are currently being rejected due to the shortage. “Responsible,” Wilders said. He pointed out that the lower house has demanded for several months that the test capacity must be in order. “What have you been doing in recent months?” The coalition parties D66 and CDA also wondered why there is still not enough testing.
According to the cabinet, this is partly due to people being tested without complaints. But it is also the case that a major test question was not expected. Minister De Jonge: “In retrospect, we could have scaled up the test capacity earlier, but at that moment it was not an obvious decision.” The cabinet is now increasing. However, it may still take weeks before the test question can be met.
‘People need to know what the cabinet works for’
According to D66, this means that people do not have a good idea of what the cabinet has in mind. This makes it partly responsible for the reduction in support for the corona rules. “People stick to the rules when the government has things in order,” says Rob Jetten.
He referred to a group of well-known and lesser-known Dutch people who turned against corona politics on social media on Tuesday – on the initiative of conspiracy thinker Willem Engel from Virus Truth (formerly known as Virus Madness). The jet disapproved of the actions, but also pointed to the role of the cabinet.
Piano shared the analysis. According to him, influencers are the tip of the iceberg. He believes that the government is losing support among many more, because no perspective is offered. “People need to know where the cabinet works.” It is not enough to wait for a vaccine that no one knows exactly when it will be available.
‘I feel people are lying’
There was also strong criticism of RIVM’s changed guidelines for oral masks. Elderly care workers do not have to wear protection in the event of temporary contact. From research by News hour it turned out that RIVM took into account the lack of protective equipment in the guideline, while the Cabinet always claimed that the lack did not matter. Piano: “I have the impression that people are lying.” Wilders: “This affects the confidence of the House, citizens and healthcare professionals in you and in RIVM.”
According to Rutte, the availability of protective equipment would not have mattered. Wordplay where the House of Representatives and the Cabinet did not agree on RIVM’s explanation forced the Prime Minister to admit at the end of the debate that mistakes had been made. “This should not have been the case. It has led to unnecessary concern among healthcare professionals. I regret it.”
Again criticism of the crisis communication cabinet
The Prime Minister also met with the House on the critique of crisis communication. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, cabinet announcements have not always been unambiguous. This was no different after the recent announcement of local measures. CDA member Pieter Heerma saw that it was a question of which new rules would apply per region: “Regional strategy stands or falls with communication.”
The jet wondered if there should be a new roadmap with clear measures that apply to each region if the number of infections increases. According to Prime Minister Rutte, they are still working on this. The measures in the toolbox that the regions can use have been negotiated for several weeks. According to the Prime Minister, it takes time because consultations must be held with different regions.
This is not enough for part of the house. Asscher: “The second wave is here and the Prime Minister still has to fill the toolbox.”