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The Dutch king cuts short holiday in Greece after criticism

“We are seeing reactions from people to media reports,” Willem-Alexander and his wife Queen Maxima said in a statement released by the Royal House late on Friday.

“We do not want to be in any doubt that it is necessary to follow the guidelines to get the COVID-19 virus under control. The discussion about our holiday does not contribute to that.”

Although the king’s holiday in Greece did not violate any of the Dutch lockdown rules, including new restrictions introduced this week amid one of Europe’s biggest coronavirus outbreaks, the government has deterred unnecessary travel.

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“This is unwise and incomprehensible,” ANP news agency quoted lawmaker Joost Sneller from the D-66 party, one of the coalition partners in Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s ruling coalition, as saying of the king’s holiday.

Rutte had urged the nation in a televised speech Tuesday “not to test the rules.”

“You can go on holiday, but then go to the place where you booked your cottage or hotel room and not move around,” the prime minister said. “If you travel abroad – well your options are limited as there are only a few countries that want to have us longer.”

Willem-Alexander, who owns a private villa in southern Greece, traveled by government plane, the ANP reported.

The Netherlands reported nearly 8,000 new cases of coronavirus on Friday, a record.

Willem-Alexander and his wife Queen Maxima apologized after an earlier holiday to Greece in August after a photo was published showing them breaking the guidelines for social distance on the island of Milos.

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