The total number of coronavirus patients in the Netherlands has risen to 321, with 56 new cases in the last 24 hours, the public health agency RIVM announced on Monday.
The increase is smaller than on Saturday or Sunday. Brabant remains the most severely affected province, with 134 positive tests. Residents there have been advised to stay home if they are suffering from colds or flu-like symptoms to prevent the virus spreading.
More than 4,000 children were sent home from school in Eindhoven on Monday after their teachers were taken ill. Schools and classrooms were closed in other parts of Brabant, including Tilburg, where 2,800 children were kept home, and Den Bosch, where there was no school for 1,025 pupils.
In Rotterdam, delegates from 14 of 51 countries invited to an official tour of the Eurovision venue stayed away from the event as a precaution.
Prime minister Mark Rutte insisted that the Dutch economy can withstand the impact of coronavirus after stock markets dropped sharply on Monday morning. Shell’s share price fell by 21.3% in 35 minutes after the Amsterdam exchange AEX opened, but by lunchtime it had recovered around one-third of that ground to reach the €16 mark. The AEX index lost 7% to drop below the 500-point mark.
Shell’s losses were linked to the falling price of oil in response to fears that stricter travel restrictions to contain the virus will reduce demand for fuel. Rutte acknowledged that there had been ‘strong reactions’ on the markets, but said: ‘Public health is the first priority for the Dutch government. Stock markets reflect what is happening in the economy indirectly, not directly.
We are looking primarily at the situation in the real economy. ‘We’re in a good position. Our reserves are filled to the brim, we have historically low unemployment, a low national debt and a budget surplus. We can take a hit.’
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