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Jakarta Post

'Exhausted' Dutch minister quits after coronavirus debate collapse

  • News Desk

    Agence France-Presse

The Hague, Netherlands   /   Fri, March 20, 2020   /   12:53 am
'Exhausted' Dutch minister quits after coronavirus debate collapse Dutch Minister Bruno Bruins for Medical Care (VVD) speaks during a debate about the developments surrounding the coronavirus, in The Hague, the Netherlands, on Wednesday. (AFP/Phil Nijhuis )

The Dutch medical care minister resigned on Thursday after collapsing from what he said was exhaustion during a debate in parliament on the coronavirus outbreak.

Bruno Bruins, whose responsibilities included dealing with the pandemic, fainted while standing at a lectern in parliament on Wednesday night and had to be helped to his feet.

"The king has granted this resignation in the most honorable manner... with gratitude for the many and important services rendered" by Bruins, said a royal palace statement.

Bruins had said on Wednesday that he had "suffered from faintness from exhaustion and intensive weeks", but that he was feeling better and would return to work.

The government of Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has been under pressure over what critics called an initially slow response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Rutte has since ordered schools, bars and restaurants shut to respond to the crisis. The Netherlands has reported 2,460 cases including 76 deaths. 

The prime minister went to a supermarket on Thursday to promise Dutch people that there would be no shortages of one key commodity: toilet paper.

"We have enough... we can all poop for ten years," Rutte said.