0689-Corona virus & Politicians

Confidence in Prime Minister Rutte and his corona approach is declining.

Fewer people have confidence in Prime Minister Rutte and his approach to fighting the corona virus. His party, the VVD, has also steadily lost seats in the past two months. These are the first cracks in Rutte’s cast-iron reputation for months. This is evident from research by EenVandaag and the new seat survey by Ipsos and EenVandaag. Since the corona crisis, Rutte’s confidence has risen to rare heights. In the midst of the first wave of the corona crisis, 75 percent stood behind him as prime minister, where previously up to 40 percent supported him.

Lowest confidence in months
But the moment the number of corona infections has grown again for a long time, doubts about him also grow. Last month, at the end of June, 71 percent still thought he was doing well as Prime Minister of the Netherlands. That has now dropped to 64 percent. While a majority still supports him, that figure hasn’t been that low in months. This is partly due to the dissatisfaction with the EU agreement concluded last week, where hard-hit countries are being helped financially by the EU. Despite praise for Rutte’s critical attitude during the negotiations, most are not satisfied with the outcome. But the most frequently cited reason for the decline in confidence is the invisibility of the prime minister now that the corona virus has recovered in recent weeks. Many people are waiting for reassurance or new measures from the Prime Minister. Someone who has lost confidence says in the study: “As a manager of the corona crisis, he did well, but at this stage he leaves it at that.”

Coming back from vacation?
Both Prime Minister Rutte and Minister De Jonge, of Health, have a few weeks of vacation. Although many people (66 percent) believe that this should be possible after the intensive first half of the year, there is still discomfort with a large group. 43 percent believe that with the rising number of corona infections, at least one of them should return. “Of course I want to give them their holidays, but if the situation changes quickly, I still think they should give another press conference themselves. I think that they can properly indicate the severity of the crisis,” said one respondent. And another: “I think Grapperhaus is not doing as well as a straggler. De Jonge and Rutte should have coordinated their holidays better.” Half (51 percent) believe that Rutte and De Jonge should continue their holiday for the time being.

Support De Jonge is also declining
With declining confidence in Rutte, support for the government’s approach to the corona virus has also declined considerably, from 69 percent at the end of June to 59 percent now. This brings the share of people who support government action to the level of mid-March. Then the number of corona infections in the Netherlands also rose rapidly. Not only Prime Minister Rutte loses credit with the citizen. According to fewer people, De Jonge, Minister of Health, is also doing well. Last month was 66 percent behind his performance; now 55 percent of that remains. He is also accused of being little visible at the moment. In addition, some are increasingly under the impression that he lacks knowledge and plays a role in compensating for that lack of knowledge.

Steady loss to the VVD
The waning confidence in the prime minister is also not good for his party, the VVD. In two months, the party loses five seats and now comes to 39 seats, according to the new seat poll of Ipsos and EenVandaag. Rutte’s party thus seems to have passed the peak that it had built up since the corona crisis. The VVD rose no less than 17 seats in three months, with 44 seats in May as the high point. In recent months, the VVD has won voters from all kinds of different parties and it is now losing those seats again. However, the VVD remains by far the largest party. The distance to the second party, the CDA, is currently 22 seats. There is no question of a ‘De Jonge effect’ at that party this month. With 17 seats, the CDA remains the same size as a month ago.

0684-Corona virus

Mayors are puzzled about how to prevent people from becoming infected with the corona virus at home. 342 cases were identified today, nearly 100 more than yesterday. Many infections take place behind the front door: exactly the place where mayors cannot maintain. “That the corona law does not give us that possibility is a mistake.”
A somewhat mysterious sentence was that Nijmegen mayor Hubert Bruls dropped out during the press conference of the Security Council on Wednesday. It was about private infections. “We cannot intervene at home. We will continue to investigate whether there is something we can do about it.”
Bruls stood there as chairman of the deliberation, in which the 25 Dutch security regions are gathered, and thus actually spoke on behalf of the law enforcement officers of our country. Did he advocate surveillance and enforcement behind the front door here? In an explanation, Bruls also stated that new rules can “infringe on people’s freedom.”
A day later, he says – via WhatsApp – not exactly what he means. In his view, should parties in people’s homes be banned or ended? Bruls repeats that things have to be “sorted out”. In conversation with Radio 1, he reports that fundamental rights in the Netherlands are “very rightly” protected, and that they should not be experimented with. “But my greatest concern is with infections in the private sphere. There is a risk that because things go wrong more often, you will have to take stricter measures again in public.”

Shared care
With this last observation, Bruls expresses a very widely shared concern among the mayors present at the Security Council, according to a tour of this newspaper. On the one hand, they are required to control the distribution of corona within their regions. On the other hand, they also know the figures from RIVM. This shows that by far the most infections (54.5 percent) occur at home, followed by the further family circle (19 percent). And exactly there they cannot do much. For comparison: in the catering industry, a place where enforcers can play a role, according to the source and contact research, only 4.8 percent of recent infections take place. This is a matter of concern, especially now that the number of infections is increasing. On Thursday, a higher number of infections was announced again: 342. That was almost 100 more than Wednesday. Liesbeth Spies, Mayor of Alphen aan den Rijn: ,,We now see that the biggest fires arise in the home situation, but we also know that you do not have any perseverance there (intervening or making decisions in the event of deadlocks or stagnation in decision-making or work processes, red. .). Then it is not so strange that you think whether you can achieve more behind that front door, without immediately entering the constitutionally guaranteed autonomy of privacy.”

Corona law
The question is what you can do. This spring, the proposal for the corona law of Minister De Jonge was already considerably amended, after much criticism was raised about the possibilities that the police would have to check in people’s homes. “The safe distance standard and other (behavioral) rules do not apply to situations in which house law is at stake,” the legal text now states. As a result, mayors must continue to enforce with their hands behind their backs, especially in the places where things most often go wrong. That is “a mistake”, says Mark Boumans, Mayor of Doetinchem. ,, I regularly walk through the city, and then you just see and hear that more and more parties are being held. And I’m pretty sure that at 90 percent, the corona rules are not followed. But there is nothing we can do. Yes, we can ring the doorbell. But if we are not let in, we are powerless.”
According to Boumans, there should be more administrative options. “For example, the right to look inside people or to be able to end a party. Normally I’m hesitant about things like that, but now you just see it go wrong. The alternative is that we all have to enter an intelligent lockdown again. I don’t think anyone wants that. Then take specific action.”
An important condition for Boumans is that there will first be a public campaign, in which people are once again made aware of the dangers of meetings at home. Theo Weterings, Mayor of Tilburg, is also on that line. He believes that alternatives to enforcement should be sought. “I don’t see it happening anytime soon that we, as mayors, are going to tamper with people’s fundamental rights. So we have to think about how we can influence the situation in people’s homes. ”

0683-Islamic festival of sacrifice

In de EL Fath-moskee in Dordrecht zijn markeringen aangebracht om te zorgen dat de bezoekers op 1,5 meter afstand van elkaar kunnen bidden.

Do not go to the mosque and celebrate the Sacrifice Feast at home in small circles for the next few days, is the urgent advice of the mayor of Rotterdam, Aboutaleb. The Contact Body for Muslims and Government CMO does not share that advice: “Mosques are well prepared, sometimes even stricter than the applicable corona rules.”
Aboutaleb made his appeal because he is concerned about the rising number of corona infections in his city. The Sacrifice Feast begins on Friday, which lasts all weekend. When tens of thousands of believers come together in mosques and in a family context, this can further enhance the revival of the corona virus. RIVM reported on Tuesday that “more and more infections take place during family visits and at parties.” Celebrate the party in a small, domestic circle. Do not pray in the mosque or a park, ”said Aboutaleb this week in a video message. A platform of Islamic associations in Rotterdam joined the call. The chief editor of the Muslim newspaper wondered why prayer meetings were not banned anyway. But the Contact Body for Muslims and Government (CMO), which claims to represent about 380 mosques in the Netherlands, believes that Aboutaleb is too strict in its appeal. “We do not advise avoiding the mosque,” said chairman Muhsin Köktas. “The mosques are well prepared. They are disinfected and adhere to the 1.5 meter rule. ” According to Köktas, it is mandatory in Turkish mosques affiliated with the Diyanet organization to wear a mask. This is not necessary under the rules of the national government. “We have the impression that people really take corona seriously. We also saw that during the celebration of the Sugar Festival in May. ” At that time, most mosques were still closed.
In the Turkish Kocatepe mosque in Rotterdam, face masks are indeed mandatory, even at the first prayer of the Festival of Sacrifice, Friday morning at 6.46 a.m. But the mosque also writes on Facebook: “Unfortunately, last week we saw a large increase in the number of people who came without a mask and did not follow the distance rules.” The mosque’s board keeps the building open “to prevent it from getting too crowded at other mosques.” With the Feast of Sacrifice, one of the most important feasts in Islam, Muslims commemorate the prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son for his god. In the end that was not necessary and a ram was sufficient. To reflect on this, believers slaughter a sheep and share that food with family, friends and the poor.

Een vrachtwagen met lamsvlees voor het Offerfeest komt aan in op het plein aan de Stationsweg in Den Haag. Archieffoto.

Only 100 people are allowed without registration.
It is usually busy in the mosques during the Feast of Sacrifice, just as the Christian churches protrude at Christmas. According to the corona measures, religious meetings may be held, with no maximum number of participants. However, people have to keep a distance of 1.5 meters, they have to register who is coming and a health check has to be done. If there is no registration or control, a maximum of 100 (inside) or 250 (outside) people may come together. Several mosques have already indicated that believers (also) will pray outside the mosque: in a park or on the forecourt. Earlier this year, two mosques in The Hague were forced to close after a corona outbreak. This week, three Syrian Orthodox churches in Enschede closed their doors after members of a card club that gathered in one of the churches were found to be infected. In other years, many Moroccan Dutch people celebrate the Sacrifice Feast on holiday with family in Morocco. However, that country has still closed its borders to tourism, so that this year extra people will celebrate the party in the Netherlands.

Lamsvlees bij supermarkt Tanger Markt, waar klanten vlees voor het offerfeest afhalen. Archieffoto.

Crowds at slaughterhouses.
It is very busy at Islamic butchers and slaughterhouses; the demand for ritual slaughtered lamb is high. The NVWA imposed a ban on slaughtering two slaughterhouses because, partly due to the pressure, they could not comply with the corona rules in the workplace. The parties came together on Tuesday evening. The meat must be delivered pre-packed this year. Also, many butchers have given their customers a specific time period in which they have to pick up the meat to avoid a massive influx.

0682-Corona virus & Planning your holiday

Where to go in France – the safest regions and places to avoid now you can travel quarantine-free


Since the June 2 reopening of bars, restaurants and hotels, France has been galloping back to normal. The pandemic is said to be under control. Almost everything you want is open again. Okay, a few restrictions remain. No gatherings of more than 10 people. Masks should be worn in shops and on public transport, tables must be well-spaced and there’s enough hydroalcoholic gel strategically placed in the public domain to flood the country three feet deep. That said, city centres and seaside resorts truly are getting their mojo back. France has been included the long-awaited list of countries that English residents can visit this summer. Here are five regions where the incidences of the virus are, as we speak, among the very lowest in France – perhaps because they’re mainly off-centre – and where I guarantee you a good time.

St Jean-Pied-de-Port

1. French Basque Country
No surprise that coronavirus didn’t make much headway in Basque country; not much has since the stone age. The Romans found it hard going in these Pyrenean parts, as did follow-up barbarians and Charlemagne. And, these days, the Basque identity still lies strong upon the land. Picture powerful character rooted in sky-busting mountains and a muscular coast rocking with Atlantic rollers. The whole is punctuated by substantial villages of white houses trimmed with oxblood-red woodwork, the bases for everything Basques have ever done, farming and contraband through fishing and sending sons off to America. My choice for the seaside would be Guéthary (once Madonna’s choice, too) or St Jean-de-Luz, with its storybook bay. Inland? St Jean-Pied-de-Port where mountain folk gather for the Monday market and you’d better not bet on the pelota games or you’ll be wiped out.


2. Roussillon
Perpignan is best known internationally for Salvador Dali’s claim that the town’s railway station is the centre of the universe. Art aside, Dali was a chump. The station is not the centre of the universe. It’s not even the centre of Perpignan. It’s in a desolate zone to the north of centre. Enough of that. We go to Perpignan for fierce sun, temperament and festivity, for both codes of rugby and all sorts of wine. In the lee of the great 13th-century palace of the Kings of Mallorca (long story), the city is a permanently simmering sunshine event, easing us into French Catalonia (aka Roussillon) with a lot more panache now than it had 15 years ago. Further south, the flat coast sprouts rocks and coves as it meets the final plunges of the Pyrenees. Seaside resorts – Collioure, Banyuls – charm all but the charmless. Behind, vertical vineyards herald real mountains for climbing, riding, rafting, canyoning or trekking up to the St Martin-de-Canigou monastery. Back in Collioure, we eat anchovies. They are the local speciality. Best anchovy recipe ever, from anchovy-filleter Ghislaine: toast a slice of country bread, grate on garlic, add a few rounds of tomato and olive oil, lay anchovies on top. Fabulous.


3. Lot
I’ve called Figeac (population: 10,000) “the finest small town in France” so often that the phrase writes itself. It’s about time someone noticed. The medieval and Renaissance structure is so well-preserved that it would be readily recognised by the wandering monks and merchants who, for centuries, have been dropping down from the surrounding limestone plateaux to the banks of the Célé. I generally walk mesmerised through the structures of France’s past, spotting the birth-place of Hollywood’s Latin lover Chares Boyer and paying respects at the museum of Jean-François Champollion. He was the local lad who cracked Egyptian hieroglyphics in 1822. Then I romp out of time down the Célé valley to the Pech-Merle cave. Its 29,000-year-old paintings surge from the walls as if seeking release. Back up the Lot valley St Cirq-Lapopie drapes over rocks to impose a sense of occasion. Post-war, writer and founder of surrealism, André Breton showed up. “I ceased to wish myself elsewhere,” he said, with the pomposity you’d expect from an anarcho-surrealist. And we haven’t even mentioned Conques with its weird, stolen monastic treasure (another long story) or Rocamadour, where the abbey, seven chapels and an entire village are clamped to the cliff face. You’ll be awestruck. Everyone is.


4. Finistère
From clear turquoise waters and white sandy beaches surrounded by pine trees, to dramatic rocky cliffs swept by the sea or charming pink granite coves, the Brittany coast is a place of wonders. If that’s not incentive enough, then let me tell you that Roscoff is a grand, granite little port once prosperous with freebooting wealth, now base to more crèperies than anyone can count. Go for Ty Saozon on Rue Gambetta. Then curve round the rugged, ragged coast, via the Pays-des-Abers to Le Conquet and a ferry to the island of Ouessant. The wind-lashed, treeless isle was the domain of women, the men being away at sea, often for years. Whence the local saying: “Take any husband you can get; there’ll not be enough to go round.” Inland, the desolate Monts-d’Arrée swirl with Breton myths. And all that’s just north Finistère. There’s still the slightly softer south to go at.


5. Vienne
This inland, western county is for the mature of outlook. People like me. We avoid spas, anywhere with purple lighting and anything termed “to die for”. We prefer gentle landscapes, châteaux, long lunches, cave paintings and quite a lot of wine – favouring, as it does, the calm of continuity rather than the clamour of the contemporary. So we’re very happy in Poitiers whose stint as home base to Eleanor of Aquitaine was sufficient to supply a framework of outstanding buildings. These include the cathedral, whose astonishingly worked façade is alive with statuary and reliefs including – a first for me – Jesus being given a bath by midwives with their sleeves rolled up. Now we head east, through a spectral gauze filtering out noise and vulgarity, to the Anglin and Gartempe valleys. Angles-sur-Anglin, as steep as it is comely, wriggles below a château crumbled to perfection. The abbey church at St Savin has 50 of the world’s greatest OT Romanesque frescos. Interestingly, Eve sports a beard, following misguided 19th-century restoration. Bucolic tranquillity persists, as if this were 1957 and you were driving a Morris Minor. It leads through villages and small towns – Montmorillon, Chauvigny – before we swing back to Poitiers, for the 21st-century blast of Futuroscope theme park, which leaves even mature folk laughing.

0679-Corona virus

Another 214 Dutch people were diagnosed with a coronavirus infection. That is the highest daily total since the number of infections has recovered. A higher number was last recorded on June 7. The figures were published on the corona dashboard on Sunday.

Drukte bij de corona-teststraat aan het Oranjepark in Dordrecht.

An upward trend in the number of infections has been visible in the past week. The number of infections doubled last week compared to a week earlier, RIVM reported. In a week, an infection was diagnosed in 987 people. The increase may be partly explained by a larger number of tests. The number of people who get tested last week was about 50 percent higher than the week before. Rotterdam-Rijnmond was the region with the largest number of new infections: 64. Rotterdam also had the most infections in recent days.

Intensive care
The number of Covid patients who stay in intensive care is 16. That is 2 patients less than Saturday. In addition, there are 568 non-Covid patients on the ICs, 28 fewer than the previous day. The number of Covid recordings outside the IC is 67, 24 fewer than yesterday. This is evident from the data from the National Coordination Center for Patient Distribution (LCPS). Yesterday, the number of Covid admissions outside the intensive care unit rose by 17. According to a spokesman for the LCPS, the “broader trend” is “stable” despite the sharp fluctuations yesterday and today. “Sometimes data is corrected by hospitals and then it seems to be a peak or a sharp drop. But the decline continues, and it sometimes bumps. ” For example, the figures from yesterday and today played a role in which one hospital first reported nine suspicious cases, which were removed from the list a day later. The numbers of the national coordination center sometimes deviate from the dashboard of the national government, but according to the spokesman, the LCPS figures are current: “We ask the hospitals live.”

0678-Corona virus

Mayors want mandatory quarantine after holidays

Mayors want the opportunity to mandate people to quarantine for 14 days if they have been on vacation in contaminated areas. They have asked the cabinet to take action in the short term. “After all, it is now up for discussion,” said the Mayor of Nijmegen, Hubert Bruls, who is also chairman of the Security Council. “We want to be able to impose it if necessary.” Bruls spoke to Minister Ferd Grapperhaus (Justice) on Friday about the increasing number of people who test positive for corona. The outcome of this consultation is, among other things, that the Cabinet will ask the Outbreak Management Team (OMT) for new advice on the usefulness of mouth masks. Mayors are given the space to make local masks mandatory. “But the Security Region has also asked the cabinet to oblige tourists who have been in areas where the virus flares up again to go into quarantine for two weeks. That is now only recommended, people can escape it.”

Code orange
But if the infection rates continue to rise, such a mandatory quarantine may be an option to do something about it. These are people who have been on holiday in areas that have the code orange, areas that are not recommended by the government to go there. While the mayors Ahmed Aboutaleb of Rotterdam and Femke Halsema of Amsterdam argue for a mouth mask obligation, Grapperhaus and Bruls do not see anything to introduce that nationwide. Bruls: ,, The situation is different per region. In Gelderland-Zuid, for example, you only speak of a single contamination, so we do not need to take extra measures for the time being.”

Family parties
His colleague in Arnhem, Ahmed Marcouch, announced on Friday that there will be stricter supervision of the rules against the spread of corona in the catering industry because the rules are too often violated there. Bruls is more concerned about family parties: “We see that the most important thing in the family sphere, at family parties.” “Extra information should again point people to compliance with the corona regulations. He finds virologist Marion Koopmans by his side. The professor of virology at Erasmus MC in Rotterdam, who advises the cabinet and the World Health Organization as a member of the Outbreak Management Team, argues in favor of postponing parties when they cannot go outdoors and keeping them at bay.

0675-Corona virus

In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph yesterday, Boris Johnson explained that he was highly reluctant to enforce a second national lockdown, because of its severe impact. Today, Sarah Knapton, our science editor, reveals that official research from April put the potential cost of the lockdown at 200,000 deaths due to delayed healthcare.  The toll of the pandemic has also, of course, been heavy in financial terms. Britain is racking up wartime levels of debt to keep the economy afloat and minds are turning to how to pay for it all. Many officials seem keen on a return to austerity, but that, argues Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, would be an enormous mistake that would risk pushing the UK into a Japanese-style deflation trap. Social-distancing rules have made getting married a very difficult proposition, even for royalty. Still, the Queen and Prince Phillip were able to attend Princess Beatrice’s wedding last week, as was her father, Prince Andrew. Yet the Duke of York was nowhere to be seen in the official photographs. As Camilla Tominey explains, that absence, as well as a number of other clues in the photos, can tell us rather a lot about the relationship between the Queen and her descendants.

0674-Corona virus

Ahmed Marcouch, Lord Mayor of Arnheim, appeals to Moroccans: “Don’t go to Morocco this summer.”

The reports seem favorable, travel to Morocco will be possible again from 15 July. Yet there is the call from Ahmed Marcouch, the mayor of Arnheim: “Don’t go back to Morocco this year.” “I usually like to go there. My parents are buried there, I have the necessary family living there. But still: “I’ll skip a year,” said the mayor. “The risks are too great because of the corona virus. Now it seems safe, but that it is possible again, is more motivated from economic interest. In Morocco they like to see the hard Dutch currency come. They desperately need it.”

“Government dealt very inhumanly with people who were detained”
But what if there is another lockdown? “In recent months, the Moroccan government has dealt very inhumanly with people who were trapped in Morocco and could not go home,” said Marcouch. “A donkey does not hit the same stone twice.” Marcouch understands that the temptation to go to Morocco is great. Reports appear in the Moroccan media that borders are opening. And that Moroccans with a residence abroad and foreigners who are currently in Morocco can leave the country. ,,But until recently there was no talk with the Moroccan government.” Minister Blok (Foreign Affairs) has moved heaven and earth to bring people back to the Netherlands. Then sick, old people from the Nador region were on a bus to Casablanca for a thousand kilometers to take the plane. Little by little.”

“Do not go to Morocco under these circumstances”
Faiza Mhiaui from Tiel spent three months trying to bring her 63-year-old father back to the Netherlands. “He was to Morocco for my grandfather’s funeral. Carried medicines for his COPD and diabetes for a week. But two days before he would come back, things were locked there”, says Mhiaiu. “We tried everything. Nothing helped. I am already happy that my father is back. But no, I really would under these circumstances don’t go to Morocco.”

Temperatuurscheck op vliegveld Casablanca.

Not being able to say goodbye to a deceased mother
Despite all warnings in two weeks from now, Latifa from Zeist will go to Morocco. In the past few weeks she has experienced how stubborn Morocco was. “My mother died there on July 2. She had been ill since late May. We tried everything to get there”, she says. “But I’ve really been waiting for the opportunity to go anyway. In the end we were late. A goodbye to my mother has already been taken from me and we still want to have some kind of ceremony, to arrange things.” Whether she will return to Morocco afterwards? “It has been so inhumane. I don’t know if I will go to Morocco in the coming years. We are now guaranteed to leave again. But it already begins that only two Moroccan airlines may be flown. And what is the promise worth in the end?”

0656-Corona virus

Second wave? The coronavirus hasn’t even had a breakdown yet.

The number of corona infections continues to increase worldwide. A second wave? Many scientists prefer to compare it to a smoldering forest fire. If the fire hose is stored somewhere, the fire will immediately flare up again.

Where’s the fire?

Britse epidemioloog: ‘Lijkt erop dat coronavirus al jaren sluimert en niet in China ontstond’

Where not, you can almost say. Yes, in the Netherlands, we currently have a good coronavirus underneath, with less than a hundred new patients a day. However, the number of infections continues to rise worldwide – although it should be noted that the number of people being tested has also increased. At the end of last week, the World Health Organization WHO reported 212,000 infections with a badly acclaimed daily record. The daily death toll continues to circle around 5000.
Thus, despite all the lockdowns, mouth masks, and attempts to quarantine patients, the virus is still spreading. The United States and Brazil, two countries that cannot control corona, have been causing the most new infections for weeks. The number of new patients is also increasing rapidly in India and Mexico. And in Iraq, and in South Africa. Then there are the countries that initially fought well against Covid-19, but now have to attack again after policy has eased. In Spain, two regions in Catalonia and Galicia have started a second lockdown as the number of infections increased. Israel is back in the rats after more than a thousand patients joined within 24 hours on Friday. And Serbia declared a state of emergency in the capital Belgrade, among other things, because the number of infections flared up again. Tourists from Serbia are now briefly banned from Greece. Surrounding Balkan countries such as Croatia are also concerned about the consequences of the Serbian revival for their tourism sector.

What does this say about the virus?

Covid-19 seems to have little interest in a summer sleep. You can discuss whether government measures to contain the virus are just the right ones, and whether the number of infections you prevent outweighs the economic damage or loss of social contact. But the new hot spots show that the virus is definitely not on its return. And that it can return anywhere if measures are relaxed again. In Serbia, a football match was played in a packed stadium, the parliamentary elections continued and Novak Djokovic was able to party in a capital nightclub with a number of other tennis players during a tennis tournament. Israel had to revert to allowing larger groups of people to gather (up to 250) and is now looking for new ways to control the virus without harming the economy. Countries with presidents who have never been very supportive of very strict measures, such as Brazil and the US, must watch as corona continues to make victims. In fact, how the number of new patients per day continues to rise. Group immunity – meaning that so many people have had the virus that automatically slows its spread – is still a long way off in those countries, too. And a vaccine is not yet in sight, although US President Donald Trump is hopeful that it will be there at the end of this year. Either way, December is still a long way off.

Can we speak of a second wave?

Many virologists do not consider this a correct term. For a start, a second wave is not an official scientific name. Often the stamp is placed on the Spanish flu from 1918: when the autumn wave was much more devastating than that in the spring. But the current corona virus? That has not yet had a slump worldwide. If you look at the daily number of infections since the beginning of this year, you will still see a fairly stable increase, again with the observation that the number of people tested has also increased. Be that as it may, we are still on the first wave on a global scale. So countries that need to get back on track, like Israel and Serbia, are not fighting a massive second wave. They slowed down the first wave with the first lockdown, and the same wave of viruses is now gaining momentum again, you might say. Some scientists prefer to compare the current situation with a smoldering forest fire. In some places the fire is still raging. In other places it seems to have been quenched until it regains oxygen and flares up again. If people start singing and shouting en masse in a full discotheque, if you allow foreign tourists to be controlled uncontrollably or colleagues from a slaughterhouse light each other, then you have new hot spots, but it is not that big second wave.

Servische soldaten bouwen in een stadion in Belgrado een noodhospitaal.

And yet, in the Netherlands and the rest of Western Europe, many experts fear in the fall for something that at least resembles such a second wave. It is possible that the virus will largely stay away this summer, for example because we are outside a lot, where the chance of infection is much smaller. But how will that be when the autumn comes again and we cozy up together by the heating? Maybe it will come after all, that second wave. Whatever name you give the animal: it is one that you would prefer to definitively show the door.

0653-KLM resumes flights

KLM, the Dutch national airline company, resumes as per 01 July a part of its schedule, for European and intercontinental destinations.