THE HAGUE: Dutch social network influencers who launched a hashtag attacking the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic were themselves criticised Wednesday following a fresh surge in infections.
The group of singers and a well-known rapper who claim more than one million followers launched the hashtag #ikdoenietmeermee (Dutch for “I no longer take part”) on Sept 21.
They denounce the economic and social consequences of anti-coronavirus measures on the population, accusing the government of a scare campaign while ignoring the opinions of doctors critical of the country’s fight against Covid-19.
“I’m no longer taking part. Free the people!” the personalities chant in a YouTube video.
“Together we will keep the government under control,” the personalities say – a play on the government slogan “Together we'll keep the virus under control”.
Those on the video include singer and YouTuber Famke Louise, who has more than one million followers on Instagram and well-known Dutch DJ Bizzey.
The hashtag’s launch comes as coronavirus infections are surging in numbers not seen since the initial outbreak. Experts are already warning of a second wave of the disease.
Government officials, medical staff and other influencers have denounced the new media campaign.
Dutch Health Minister Hugo de Jonge called it “irresponsible” telling the NOS public broadcaster he “wanted to talk to the group as soon as possible”.
Nurse Don Roelofsen on Twitter invited those sharing the hashtag to “come and take a look inside the intensive care unit”.
And one young Famke Louise fan, 18-year-old Mats van der Graaf, told the RTL private newscaster how disappointed he was. “I had a positive image of many of these celebrities,” he said.
The Netherlands has seen more than 98,000 cases including 6,291 deaths since the first cases were reported in late February.
The government announced new measures Friday in six regions that cover the major cities of Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam which have been particularly affected by the new surge.
All bars now have to close by 1am (1100 GMT) and gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited.
The Netherlands in the spring opted for an “intelligent lockdown” that was much less stringent than in neighbouring Belgium and France, drawing widespread praise from most citizens. – AFP
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