“Within a few weeks our life has changed drastically. The coronavirus affects us all. In the Netherlands in the Caribbean parts of the kingdom and around the world. The people most affected are the seriously ill and their families. We sympathize intensively with the relatives of the people who have died and with all corona patients at home or in a hospital. We are thinking of you in this difficult time.
The measures to slow down the spread of the virus are necessary and drastic. I understand your grief when you cannot visit your loved one your mother / father / grandfather or grandmother in a nursing home. Right now you only want to hold one hand, give comfort. People deliver exceptional performance, doctors and nurses. You will receive a lot of appreciation from society. We are proud of our healthcare professionals and the entire medical sector.
Thousands of former caregivers and volunteers enroll en masse to assist. That’s fantastic. We can also be proud of the experts from RIVM, GGDs and all other institutions and experts who show us the way on the basis of scientific research and experience. They are under high pressure. It is important that we continue to trust them and follow all directions. They have only one goal in mind, which is that we get through this crisis as best we can and that the risks for vulnerable people remain as small as possible.
We also realize only too well how indispensable people are who prevent our society from coming to a halt. People in logistics, supermarkets, cleaning, IT, education, childcare, public transport, the police and all those other places. You carry us through this difficult time. It simply cannot work without you. Thank you very much.
Our heart also goes out to everyone who is concerned about the continuity of his company. Whether you are an exporter or self-employed. This situation comes pruning heart. It is terrible to see your own company, which you have invested so much time and love in, for years. This also applies to people in the culture sector who cannot realize their beautiful projects now.
I also think of all children in the Netherlands. I really understand how you feel. It may be exciting to be free at first, but that will pass quickly. Not going to school, not going to football or ballet lessons, birthday parties that are canceled. That is quite difficult. Also for parents, suddenly you are at home with your whole family. Forced to work from home, hardly any possibilities to go out, because almost everything you looked forward to has been canceled. That demands a lot from all of us.
If you are unsure or afraid, the need for contact with other people is great. You want to tell your story, you prefer familiar faces around you. If possible, forget the worries together. This has become much more difficult in the current circumstances. We miss our regular patterns and especially the people who belong to them. Your working environment, the sports club, the coffee morning, the music association, the family weekend, the church service. The lack of this makes this situation extra difficult for everyone, but especially for elderly people who are vulnerable.
Fortunately, there is a lot we can do. After all, we all know who needs attention in our immediate environment. This is something we have to go through together. A lot of people realize that. They keep a watchful eye on others and help each other where possible. We cannot stop the corona virus, but the loneliness virus can. Let’s work together to make sure no one feels abandoned. Fortunately, if a visit is not possible, there are the online means of communication. The phone or the mail.
The Netherlands would not be the Netherlands if people were to act everywhere. Neighbors who are ready for the residential and care center in the district. People volunteer to join a helpline. Students who offer childcare to parents with vital professions. Corona unleashes an incredible amount of decisiveness, creativity and humanity. It is those qualities that we really need. Not only now, but certainly later when circumstances may become even more challenging.
All of you ensure that, despite the paralysis of public life, the heart of our society continues to beat. Alertness, solidarity and warmth. As long as we keep those three, we can handle this crisis together. Even if it takes a little longer. 2020 will be a year that each of us will remember for a lifetime. Everyone has their own experiences and experience it in a different way. But I hope and expect that a sense of togetherness and pride will continue to connect us right through this difficult time.”