Focus (2)

Soualiga Newsday Focus (2870)

Coronvirus test average continues to decline, but hospitalisations are up

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – A total of 6,473 new coronavirus infections were reported to the public health institute RIVM in the 24 hours to Friday morning, up 179 on Thursday’s total.

Nevertheless, the number of positive tests on a weekly basis is down 17% on the previous seven-day period at 8,083. However, hospital admissions continue to rise.

There are now 477 people being treated for coronavirus in hospital, of whom 107 are in an intensive care ward, national patient monitoring service LCPS said. An average of 60 people a day have been admitted to hospital for the past seven days.



Dutch rivers, lakes and the sea claimed 137 lives last year

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Last year, 137 people drowned in Dutch lakes, rivers and in the sea, figures from statistics agency CBS have shown. Of them, 107 were officially resident in the Netherlands and 30 were either tourists or not registered as living here, the CBS said.

The figures are up sharply on 2019, when 76 residents died in drowning accidents. Over half the victims were at least 60 years old and people from an immigrant background are four times more likely to drown than their Dutch counterparts, the CBS said.

Two in three drownings take place in open water, such as lakes, canals, ponds, ditches or the sea. The total number of drownings in the Netherlands has gone down significantly since the 1950s, the CBS said, when between 400 to 500 people perished each year.

Of them 266 were young children. That number went down to seven in 2020. However, despite better supervision at recreational swimming sites the number of children drowning has not gone down further in the last few years.

Doctors warned earlier this month that the lack of swimming lessons during the lockdown may increase the number of drownings this summer.



Fewer coronavirus infections reported to the RIVM

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The number of new coronavirus cases reported to public health institute RIVM reached 6,301 in the 24 hours to Thursday morning, down 608 on Wednesday’s total.

The decline helped take the weekly average down to 8,780, which is 4% below that of the previous seven-day period. The number of positive cases has now been trending downwards for five days, following a surge of infections after most of the coronavirus measures were withdrawn.

It is unclear as yet how much, if any, of the decline is due to yesterday’s online attack on the regional health board’s test booking service. The RIVM said on Tuesday that the figures were stabilising.

Hospital admissions do continue to rise, and 436 people are now being treated in hospital, of whom 107 are in an intensive care ward. Coronavirus has also now been identified in 90 nursing homes nationwide, compared with 36 a week ago.



Most of the Netherlands turns dark red on new EU coronavirus map

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The provincies of Noord-Holland, Zuid-Holland, Utrecht, Noord-Brabant, Gelderland and Overijssel have turned dark red on the latest coronavirus risk map published by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Groningen was switched to dark red in last week’s update, when the rest of the country moved from amber and green to red following the surge in coronavirus infections.

That decision led Germany and France to toughen up their entry rules for people from the Netherlands, but not to any countries refusing to accept Dutch holidaymakers.

However, the red rating does allow EU countries to bring in their own measures to curtail travel, such as introducing extra testing or quarantine requirements. The ECDC revises its risk ratings every Thursday.

Dutch public health institute RIVM said earlier this week that the number of new infections in the Netherlands appear to be stabilizing, although hospital admissions are going up.



Per October 1. Usage of banned single use plastic not allowed

SINT EUSTATIUS (ORANJESTAD) - As of October 1, 2021, it is not allowed anymore to use the banned single plastic items. Businesses had a few months to adapt to the new waste ordinance that went into effect as of April 1st, 2021, and also got the opportunity to use up their stock of the banned items during the grace period.  By stopping the usage as of October 1, 2021, the Public Entity St. Eustatius takes the next step to reduce the amount of waste generated on the island and to create a cleaner environment for inhabitants and visitors.  Stakeholders were given a reasonable length grace period of two (2) months to use-up their current stock of single used products and a period of six (6) months to use-up all single use shopping bags. The 6 months’ period ends on October 1, 2021 on which all remaining banned items must be destroyed. The list of products that are restricted are single use shopping bags, plastic straws, plastic stirrers, plastic utensils, plastic plates, plastic cups, plastic soup bowls, plastic cotton swabs and plastic balloon confetti. Also Styrofoam food containers and cups are prohibited.  


On March 4th, 2021 the Island Council has approved the ‘Verordening afvalstoffen Sint Eustatius 2021’ (Waste ordinance Sint Eustatius 2021). In this ordinance the banning of the single use plastic materials and single use shopping bags are regulated. Currently this ordinance is only available in the Dutch language.

In the near future an English translation of the ordinance will be made available. A full copy of the ordinance can be found on the island government website under the sub heading Ordinances.

Questions related to the banned items can be sent to the Directorate of Economy Nature & Infrastructure :  email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 318 3283. (Statia GIS)


Statia scales up to fight non-communicable diseases and COVID-19

SINT EUSTATIUS (ORANJESTAD) - The Department of Public Health (DPH) successfully developed a National Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) Multisectoral Action Plan (NCD MAP) through technical cooperation with the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO).

DPH and PAHO presented the NCD Plan to the Central Committee last week. This plan will assist Statia in its fight against NCDs and the associated risk factors. The urgency to tackle NCDs and risk factors has been highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic since globally, persons with NCDs are amongst most vulnerable. 

PAHO states: “People with underlying health conditions, such as non-communicable diseases (NCDs) including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and cancer, have a higher risk of severe COVID-19 disease, and more likely to die from COVID-19. Risk factors for NCDs can make people more vulnerable to become severely ill with COVID-19.”

“This startling statistic highlights the importance and shows the need to accelerate the implementation of this innovative NCD plan,” said the Director of Social Domain, Carol Jack-Roosberg.

This NCD plan, the first of its kind on the island, focuses on leadership and governance, prevention, care and management, mental health and disability and aging. Furthermore, this plan will address the Social and Environmental Determinants of Health and reinforce social inclusion and access to services for people in Sint Eustatius.

Additionally, the DPH, in collaboration with stakeholders continues to be involved in a variety of initiatives relating to the prevention and control of NCDs such as:

  • community outreach for screening
  • physical activity programs – aqua-aerobics and the provision of outdoor equipment
  • healthy food demonstration – “Smaak lessen” (taste classes) intervention teaches primary school children interactively about the nutritional value of various foods and how to cook them, and
  • interventions for youth incorporating strategies to build self-esteem – “Strong Roots” intervention focused on the development of self-worth and self-efficacy by avoidance of alcohol, tobacco and drug use. 

Two activities we are currently working on with PAHO is the development of a nutrition booklet and the creation of a prevention program that will increase awareness of the importance of health and well-being, increase ability for early detection and building capacity of the health care team. 

For more information contact the Department of Health at +599-3182891, visit the office at the Cottageweg or view the website

(Statia GIS)


Thousands queue up to say farewell to murdered journalist Peter R de Vries

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Thousands of people have been queuing outside the Carré theatre in Amsterdam to pay their respects to murdered television journalist Peter R de Vries.

By 11am, the queue stretched for more than half a kilometer, broadcaster NOS said. The theatre is open until 8pm for well-wishers. Some people were crying as they waited outside.

One well-wisher told NOS that the white coffin inside the theatre is surrounded by flowers and cards. ‘The coffin, the roses, all those photos with his portrait,’ one said. ‘It was really impressive.’

A spokesman for the Monuta funeral organisers said around 1,000 people had been inside by 1pm. De Vries was perhaps best known for his work on cold cases – ensuring that several high-profile murders were finally resolved years after the fact.

But he also fought for refugee rights and was a staunch critic of racism and far right politics. He was shot in the head from close range on July 6, just after leaving a television studio at around 7.30pm.

Two men have been arrested for the murder and have been remanded in custody.



Coronavirus cases stable but hospital admissions are up again

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – A total of 6,945 new coronavirus cases were reported to public health institute RIVM in the 24 hours to Wednesday morning. That is 142 more than on Tuesday and means the average number of positive tests in the past week is up 13% on the previous seven-day period.

The RIVM also said coronavirus had now been identified at 73 different nursing homes, up from 33 a week ago. Ministers had said the rise in infections, which is currently dominated by the under-30s, would spread through to older generations.

In total, 428 people are now being treated in hospital, with 65 overnight admissions. Of them 106 are in an intensive care ward. Hospital admissions have now risen by more than 50 a day for the past three days.

Meanwhile, a series of DDoS attacks has made it impossible for some people to find out their test results, make an appointment for a test or a vaccination and check earlier appointments, the regional health board association GGD GHOR has confirmed.

In some cases, the health boards are now ringing people to let them know their results, the organisation said.



Italian drugs maker fined €20m by Dutch for hiking drug price

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Italian drug maker Leadiant has been fined nearly €20m by Dutch competition regulator ACM for jacking up the price of a drug used to treat a rare metabolic disorder by more than 6000%.

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets announced on Tuesday that it would fine the Pomezia-based pharmaceutical company €19.6m for repeatedly increasing the price of the drug CDCA since it acquired the patent in 2008.

When Leadiant purchased the rights to the treatment for cerebrotendinous xanthomatosis, the medication sold for €46 for 100 capsules. In 2009, the company released the same drug under a new name, raising the price to €885 for 100 capsules.

In 2019, Leadiant obtained the exclusive rights to sell the drug and the price skyrocketed to €14,000 for 100 capsules, a 6645.65% increase over the price ten years earlier.

‘After a small, low-risk investment, Leadiant implemented a huge price increase for a drug that had already existed for years. In this case, there was no innovation at all. We consider this to be a very serious violation,’ Martijn Snoep, chairman of the board of ACM said in a statement.

Some 60 people in the Netherlands suffer from the rare hereditary disease which prevents the body from breaking down fats. Untreated, the build-up of lipids causes brain damage and even death.

CDCA helps the body properly breakdown the fats and patients will use it for their entire lives.



Public prosecutor questions new euthanasia code for doctors

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The public prosecution department and regional euthanasia review committees which monitor compliance are embroiled in a dispute about the rules for carrying out euthanasia in the Netherlands, Trouw reported on Tuesday, citing confidential correspondence.

The dispute, the paper said, centres on deciding who has the last word about euthanasia – the courts or the committees – and about how far doctors can go to help someone to die who is no longer able to ask for it.

Last year the Supreme Court ruled that a nursing home doctor who helped a patient with severe dementia to die on the basis of older written requests had acted within the letter of the law.

The regional euthanasia review committees (RTE), which review every case of euthanasia in retrospect to assess whether due care criteria have been correctly applied, then changed four aspects of their code for doctors dealing with such cases.

The RTE, which bases its assessments on case law as well as the 2002 euthanasia law of the Netherlands, has now said that doctors have room for interpretation in applying this kind of written request and that they can best judge whether a dementia patient is ‘suffering unbearably’ – one of the six legal requirements for euthanasia.

Although it is not a strict, legal requirement, in practice doctors typically ask a patient whether they still want to die before carrying out euthanasia, but the RTE says this is not necessary in such cases.

‘In giving euthanasia to a patient who is no longer mentally competent as a result of advanced dementia, it is not necessary for the doctor to agree with the patient the time or manner in which euthanasia will be given,’ says the new RTE guideline.

‘This kind of discussion is pointless because such a patient will not understand the subject.’

Too far

But public prosecution department chief Rinus Otte says that the RTEs have gone too far in incorporating the ruling into the guideline for doctors and that more people are now eligible for euthanasia than the law actually allows.

The new code, Trouw said, states that doctors can interpret a written declaration even if it is not completely clear and that they can decide if the law has been met. But this, Otte says, is not in line with the law and that doctors can still face prosecution for murder.

Otte has not commented publicly on the dispute but has written to justice minister Ferd Grapperhaus among others. Trouw said that the department and RTEs are now in talks about revising the code, and that a new version will be published at the end of the year.


Subscribe to this RSS feed

Soualiga Radio