Dutch PM Mark Rutte didn't see mother before her death because he followed virus lockdown rules

Agence France-Presse
Mark Rutte's 96-year-old mother died in a nursing home. He has not seen her since March - Reuters

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 on Monday.

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

"The prime minister has complied with all directives," Mr 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.

Mr 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.