Dutch PM didn't see dying mother due to virus rules

Agence France-Presse

Posted at May 26 2020 06:55 AM

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte attends a news conference after the second day of the European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium, Feb. 21, 2020. Yves Herman, Reuters/File

THE HAGUE — Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte was unable to visit his dying mother in her final weeks because he obeyed coronavirus restrictions against visiting care homes, his office said Monday.

The news about Rutte emerged as Britain was gripped by a political row over allegations that the top aide to premier Boris Johnson broke COVID-19 rules to travel cross-country to stay on his parents' estate.

Rutte on Monday announced the death of 96-year-old Mieke Rutte-Dilling in a home in The Hague on May 13, nearly 2 months after the government shut all such institutions to the public on March 20.

"The prime minister has complied with all directives", Rutte's spokesman told AFP when asked about reports that the premier had stuck to the rules and so not seen his mother before she died.

His mother did not die of coronavirus although there had earlier been an outbreak of the disease in the home where she was living, Dutch media reported.

Rutte earlier announced his mother's death, saying that "in addition to the great sadness and all fond memories, my family and I also have a feeling of gratitude that we were allowed to have her with us for so long."

"We have now said goodbye to her in a family circle and hope to be able to deal with this great loss in peace in the near future," he added.

Dutch authorities allowed individual visits to some care homes from Monday, a measure that will be extended to all of them on June 15.

The Netherlands -- which has imposed an "intelligent lockdown" with less strict conditions than many other European countries -- has so far recorded 5,830 coronavirus deaths and 45,445 infections


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