March 17, 2020 / 6:14 PM / in 11 days

Netherlands to give up to $22 billion in emergency coronavirus aid to business

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The Netherlands will spend up to 20 billion euros ($22 billion) in emergency financial assistance for businesses that have run into trouble due to the coronavirus pandemic, Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra said on Tuesday.

“These are extraordinary times, which ask for extraordinary measures,” Hoekstra said in a live television address. An initial 10-20 billion euros may be increased in coming months if needed, he said.

The total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the Netherlands stood at 1,705 on Tuesday, health officials said, with 43 people dead as a result of the disease.

Tens of thousands of Dutch companies have applied for emergency assistance in recent days as major sectors of the economy ground to a standstill.

“Our aim is to limit the impact on our economy and to make sure people keep their jobs. For that, we have designed a package of emergency measures worth many billions of euros,” Economy Minister Eric Wiebes said.

Reporting by Anthony Deutsch and Bart Meijer; Editing by Gareth Jones and Nick Macfie

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