Soualiga Newsday Focus

Soualiga Newsday Focus (2161)

Small rise in coronavirus infections, 14 new deaths reported

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The number of new deaths from Covid-19 increased slightly on Monday to 14, while hospital admissions rose to 27, according to the public health agency RIVM.

Official figures tend to be lower on Sunday and Monday because of a delay in reporting new cases over the weekend. The average number of deaths over the last seven days was unchanged at 34.

A further 146 people tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total to 44,161. The real number of infections is thought to be around 40% higher because of limited testing capacity.

Since Monday non-professional carers have been eligible for coronavirus tests as the government tries to reduce the number of infections in the community. The proportion of positive tests has fallen in recent days to around 5 per cent.


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Eindhoven draws up rules for flat sharing, brings in 30 metre rule

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Eindhoven has become the latest Dutch city to introduce measures to tackle flat-sharing and stop illegal rentals. ‘We want Eindhoven to offer enough of a variety in housing to meet everyone’s needs,’ said housing alderman Yasin Torunoglu.

‘But we also want to keep a balance and ensure the atmosphere remains pleasant for everyone.’ Landlords who have already illegally divided their properties into smaller flats and bedsits and who rent out shared properties are being given a year to apply for the proper permits.

The city has also added two more neighbourhoods to the six already identified where no more shared accommodation can be realised. In addition, Eindhoven is introducing a ’30 metre’ test for the whole city, apart from the centre.

This means that landlords will not be given permission to convert properties for shared living if they are within 30 metres from the centre of a property which has already been made suitable for sharing.

The council says the new rules have been drawn up together with landlords, tenants and residents’ organisations.

The Hague

In March, The Hague city council said it is to stop giving licences for formalised flat shares in 10 city districts in an effort to ‘relieve the pressure on the supply of cheaper housing’.

The council is also looking at further measures to reduce the pressure on housing and aims to publish them by the summer.

These may include a ban on roof extensions to stop investors buying up cheap homes and making them bigger and introducing a licencing system for landlords. Amsterdam has already taken steps to stop unlicensed flat sharing in the city.

In Amsterdam a licence is need for upwards of three people sharing an apartment. In the Hague licencing starts at four.



Corona impact appears to stabilise: 10 deaths and 15 hospital admissions

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Ten more people have died from the coronavirus and 15 more have been admitted to hospital, the RIVM Dutch health institute announced in its Sunday update.

This takes the total number of deaths of people who tested positive for Covid-19 to 5680 – although the RIVM has admitted that the ‘real‘ figure could be up to 40% higher since testing has been limited in the Netherlands.

However, in a sign that the impact of the virus could be stabilising, this was the lowest daily death toll in two months. Meanwhile, 125 more people tested positive for the virus, bringing this total to 43,995.

Hans Brug, director general of the RIVM, told television programme Buitenhof that people need to get used to coronavirus prevention measures as the new normal. ‘They will last a long time, possibly a very long time,’ he said.

‘It needs to become more like normal behaviour….The virus is here, and we have to learn to live with it.’ Meanwhile, Dutch family doctors’ association NHG said that even people with supposedly ‘mild’ complaints can actually be sick for anything up to two months, which is ‘a real problem.’



Official death toll up 27 on Saturday: RIVM update

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The Dutch official coronavirus death toll rose by 27 on Saturday to 5,670, the public health institute RIVM said in its Saturday update. A further 45 people were admitted to hospital and 189 people tested positive for coronavirus.

These figures include people who died or were admitted prior to Saturday due to a time lag in the registration, the RIVM said. Some 43,870 people have tested positive so far but the real number is likely to be far higher because not everyone is being tested.

Similarly, the real death toll is likely to be some 40% higher than the 5,670 announced today, since this figure only includes people who have tested positive.

On Friday, statistics agency the CBS, the RIVM and Amsterdam teaching hospital released research suggesting that almost 9,000 more people have died than would normally have been expected, in the first nine weeks of the epidemic.

The latest small increases, however, suggest that coronavirus limitation measures are working, the RIVM said. The government is due to announce next week or the week after if it can move on to the next phase in easing the lockdown; the spread of the virus is key in determining this.



The Netherlands extends its ban on foreign travellers to June 15

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The Netherlands has extended its ban on people travelling to the country from outside Europe and the UK until June 15.

The ban, which was imposed on March 18, applies to all but urgent travel, although there are some exceptions.

Diplomatic and NGO staff, medical staff and lorry drivers may continue to enter the Netherlands, as well as foreign nationals with residency cards or long stay visas, the guidelines state.



Dutch economy shrinks 1.7% in first quarter, biggest decline in 11 years

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Preliminary figures show the Dutch economy contracted by 1.7% in the first quarter of this year, the national statistics office CBS said on Friday.

This is the biggest quarter on quarter drop since the first quarter of 2009, when GDP fell 3.6%, the CBS said. GDP had been rising steadily for the past 23 quarters. The Q1 drop is largely due to a downturn in consumer spending, the CBS said.

Household spending fell 2.7% in the first three months of the year, compared with the final quarter of 2019. Government spending also fell 1.4% while investments fell 1.1% and imports and exports fell 3% and 3.5% respectively.

‘The picture during the first quarter is mixed,’ the CBS said. ‘The economy continued to grow in the first two months. But since the second half of March, the global coronavirus outbreak and related measures have caused an unprecedented decline in economic activity.’



Dutch official coronavirus death toll rises by 53; 9,000 ‘excess’ deaths in corona time

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The official death toll from coronavirus has risen by a further 53, taking the total to 5,643, the public health institute RIVM said on Friday.

A further 35 people have been admitted to hospital and 200 more have tested positive for the virus, the RIVM said. However, the real death toll has been estimated at up to 40% higher, and new figures giving the total number of recent deaths in the Netherlands indicate a significant excess mortality rate.

Research by national statistics agency CBS, the RIVM and Amsterdam teaching hospital suggest that in the first nine weeks of the coronavirus epidemic, almost 9,000 more people died than would have been expected in normal circumstances.

This is the equivalent of an excess mortality rate of 32%, the CBS said. The official Dutch coronavirus death toll only includes people who have been tested. How many of the additional deaths were due to coronavirus can only be established on the basis of death certificates, the CBS said.

If these deaths are indeed related to the coronavirus, the NOS points out, the Netherlands’ death rate will be similar to that in Belgium, which counts all suspected corona deaths, including in care homes.

The CBS said that so far there does not appear to be a difference in the mortality rates depending on income, but that in the first six weeks, people with an ethnic minority background did appear to be over-represented.

Nevertheless, in absolute terms the number of people with a non-western background who died from Covid-19 is ‘very small’, the CBS said, The CBS, has also studied the death rate in nursing homes and other institutionalised care homes to try to assess the impact of coronavirus on residents.

In the first 10 weeks of the year, an average of 1,160 people in residential care died, but in the week April 6 to 12, that had soared to 2,400, more than double the expected figure.

By the week April 27 to May 3, the death toll in institutionalised care had dropped again to 1,400. Officials were late to try to combat the spread of coronavirus in nursing homes, and widespread testing has only just been introduced.



SZW gives entrepreneurs space to restart and become innovative

SABA/SINT EUSTATIUS - Employers who use the SZW emergency regulation for support in their wage costs no longer have to report changes for the remaining term of the regulation.

In this way they get more space to see if and how they can expand their business activities. Mutation forms that have already been submitted will not be carried through, unless they are to the benefit of the applicant.

As measures to combat corona are scaled down, companies have more options to restart their business. However, due to social distancing and the temporary absence of tourists, the market is different.

The RCN unit SZW wants to give employers space for adaptations up to and including the 12th of June, while the level of support remains unchanged. It is up to the employers to make agreements with their employees about the redeployment of personnel.

Together with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment the unit is currently discussing the possibilities of an extension of the emergency regulation. Whether the regulation will continue under exactly the same conditions is still under discussion. As soon as the new regulation has been established, the SZW unit will communicate about this.

Independent entrepreneurs who use the SZW emergency regulation do have to report changes if their income changes up to and including the 12th of June, 2020, so the unit SZW can adapt their income supplement to the new situation.

Employees who lost their job because of corona and who use the regulation on their own name, must also always fill in a mutation form when they find work.

More information about the emergency regulation is available at Entrepreneurs on Bonaire can turn to the Chamber of Commerce for advice via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)


EZK compensation now also for companies with lower fixed costs

SABA/SINT EUSTATIUS - Since April 23rd, companies affected by the measures related to the coronavirus can apply for a contribution to their fixed costs. A condition to receive the one-off amount of $ 4,400 is that there must be at least $ 4,400 in fixed costs in the period from March 13th, 2020 through June 12th, 2020.

Because many companies in the Caribbean Netherlands do not have such high fixed costs but do need help, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate (Economische Zaken en Klimaat, EZK) is expanding the allowance.

Companies that have $ 2,200 in fixed expenses from March 13th, 2020 through June 12th, 2020, while suffering at least $ 2,200 in loss of turnover related to the coronavirus, will be eligible for a one-off compensation of $ 2,200 in the new variant. An application for this additional variant of the regulation can be submitted as of today.

The original amount was taken over from the European Netherlands, where entrepreneurs in specific sectors can receive a one-off payment of € 4,000 if they have € 4,000 of fixed costs. The downside of this principle of equality was that many small entrepreneurs in the Caribbean Netherlands could not claim the compensation. The new variant was developed on the advice of the Chambers of Commerce of Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius.

The conditions remain unchanged for both the original and the new variant. For example, the company must be known to the Tax Office (BCN) on March 13th,, 2020 and must be located on Bonaire, Saba or St. Eustatius.

Because the Ministry of Economic Affairs has no executive department in the Caribbean Netherlands, the RCN-unit SZW carries out the regulation. More information regarding this compensation and the corresponding application forms are available at (under Emergency Package Government). Fully completed and signed forms can be sent by e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. until July 12th, 2020 at the latest.

For help with the application, please contact the Chamber of Commerce via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For urgent questions it is possible to contact the RCN-unit SZW at 781-5558 (Bonaire) or 319 -5693 (St. Eustatius and Saba). (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)


Covid-19 rules cut stomach bug spread, but don’t impact road deaths

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The number of registered cases of gastroenteritis and other stomach bugs has halved since the introduction of measures to combat coronavirus, while the number of infections in children under the age of four has plunged by up to 80%, the AD reported on Thursday.

Ear infections in young children are down from around 500 to 100 a week, and doctors have also reported a decline in the number of cases of mumps, German measles, whooping cough and impetigo, the paper said.

Social medicine professor Christian Hoebe told the paper that the social distancing and hygiene measures adopted to stop coronavirus are having an impact. ‘We’ve also had a very small flu epidemic this year,’ he told the paper.

However, even though there are fewer cars on the roads, there has been little change in the number of traffic deaths, according to figures from the police and traffic management bureau VIA.

Between March 16 and April 26, 62 people died in traffic accidents, compared with an average of 65 in previous years. The total number of accidents has halved, but this is due to fewer minor incidents involving bumps and minor collisions.

The figures do indicate that children and the elderly are more at risk. ‘Children may be playing outside more and cycling because the schools were closed,’ VIA spokesman Erik Donkers told the AD.

In addition, he said, the elderly are more likely to cycle at the moment than use public transport.


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