Rutte: “Back to normal, long way to go”

Press conference Rutte - 7 April
Photo credit:

The way back to a “normal” society after the corona crisis, will happen step by step. It’s a long-term process, said Prime Minister Rutte at a press conference with Minister De Jonge on April 7.

“My main message is: persevere and stay home as much as possible,” said Rutte. “The figures show cautiously that the measures are working. The risk is that people think we can loosen it up a bit. We can’t make a bigger mistake. Then we’ll destroy everything in no time.”

The Prime Minister said he understands that a lot of people have questions about the best way to get back to normal, so that the economy isn’t further damaged by the measures. Many businesses and shops and also the hospitality industry are now closed for three weeks.

But according to him there is no contradiction between economy and health. “That’s a false contradiction. What we do for health also contributes to the economy. If we scale down too early and the virus spreads again, a lot of people will become ill. It will have major consequences for the economy”.

Smart apps

By 21 April, the Cabinet shall take a new decision on the measures to be taken after 28 April. Rutte: “The chance of a start of normalisation becomes greater if we stick to the rules, such as keeping a distance of 1.5 metres”. But he can’t guarantee that anything will actually change after 28 April. “If we can at all take steps on 28 April, the measures will not be completely gone. There’s a real chance we’ll have to go through with the whole package.”

The cabinet is also thinking about using smart apps in the fight against the spread of the virus. Such an app could, for example, warn you if you’ve been in the vicinity of someone infected. That way, you could stay inside until you don’t have any symptoms. The other app makes it easy to keep in touch with a doctor.

Easter at home or close to home

According to Minister De Jonge, the deployment of these apps is necessary, because the GGDs do not have enough staff to quickly inform all the contacts of a corona patient. If the system is deployed, it should not violate the privacy guidelines, according to the Cabinet.

Press conference - De Jonge
Photo credit: NOS

This follows the recommendations of the Outbreak Management Team (OMT) of the RIVM. A recommendation to the Cabinet, which was leaked today via the NOS, also stated that research should be carried out into the deployment of mobile applications. This technology is already being used in countries such as South Korea and Singapore.

Prime Minister Rutte also looked back on last weekend. “I was really proud of our country. The rules were observed in spite of the nice weather.” Also the coming Easter weekend he wants the Dutch to stay home as much as possible. “I appeal to everyone to celebrate Easter this year at home or close to home.”


Translation: Chaitali Sengupta

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