PVV leader Geert Wilders sparked outrage on social media with a tweet about coronavirus patients with a non-Western background. According to Wilders', the treatments of "Henk and Ingrid" are being postponed, because ICU beds are occupied by "Mohamed and Fatima" who "do not speak our language and do not care about the rules". Politicians from ruling parties D66 and CDA and opposition parties SP, PvdA, GroenLinks and DENK accused Wilders of racism and polarization.
"Mainly patients with a non-Western background who do not fully speak the Dutch language in our ICUs. The government must explain that. Why is this concealed? And what does that mean for the measures? All mosques closed and restaurants open again," Wilders tweeted. "So treatments and operations of Henk and Ingrid with cancer, heart failure and other diseases are being postponed again because the ICUs are mainly occupied by Mohamed and Fatima who do not speak our language and do not respect the rules. Are those the facts Prime Minister Rutte?"
The populist politician was responding to statements made by the head of the intensive care department at Amsterdam VUmc, Armand Girbes, according to NOS. In VPRO radio program Argos, he gave the impression that the majority of Covid-19 patients in the four large cities are of non-Western origin. "If you look at the differences and similarities with the first wave, it is striking that we now mainly have patients with a non-Western background, but also that they do not speak the Dutch language completely, Gribes said.
PvdA leader Lodewijk Asscher accused Wilders of sowing discord over the backs of people in intensive care. "Racist shit", Asscher said on Twitter.
DENK leader Farid Azarkan also called Wilders' tweets "racist shit". "While the Dutch fight for their lives, Wilders circles like a vulture around the corpses to share his ailing ideology."
CDA parliamentarian Mustafa Amhaouch called Wilders' statements a pity and asked how this will help the future of young people.
D66 leader Rob Jetten called on Wilders to hold it with the "setting-up-against-each-other-tweets", and maybe help find solutions like more target group communication in various languages.
Wilders responded to that suggestion on Twitter: "Fool. 'Target group communication' in Arabic in mosques? This is the Netherlands, here we speak Dutch and those who don't speak our language have no business here. With your open borders party, you gave the Netherlands away and caused the greatest division ever."
SP parliamentarian Sadet Karabulut said Wilders never makes any useful contributions. "Racism is not a cure for Covid-19. You know that very well."
GroenLinks parliamentarian Niels van den Berge tweeted: "Awful. My stomach turns. Stomach ache. Each time he crosses a new line. Today: exploiting an unprecedented health crisis to sow division. What is your message Wilders? That Dutch people with an immigration background are not entitled to care?"