The man in charge of leading the Netherland’s fight against the coronavirus has resigned after collapsing during a government debate.
Medical Care Minister Bruno Bruins suddenly keeled over while updating the parliament on Wednesday.
Alarming video shows colleagues rushing over to grab the 56-year-old as he crumples to the floor in the middle of his address.
He later cited exhaustion, saying he had fainted after weeks of intense work, as the country tries to stem the spread of the outbreak that has devastated European neighbor Italy.
“I felt faint from exhaustion and several intense weeks of work,” he tweeted. “I am now feeling better. I’m going home now to rest tonight so I can get back to work tomorrow to fight the #corona crisis as best I can,” he added.
But his job was already gone; Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Bruins had to step aside because it was unclear how long it would take him to recover.
“The nature of the crisis is such that it demands a minister who can be ready to go full throttle immediately,” he said in a televised press conference afterwards.
Vice Prime Minister Hugo de Jonge took over Bruins’ duties until a permanent replacement is found.
His first order of business was to expand social distancing measures on Thursday, and place a ban on visiting nursing homes.
“Because I realize that this is a very drastic measure,” he said, per NL Times. “If it is your own father or mother, it will of course affect everyone. Still, I think it is necessary. People in nursing homes can be very fragile, so the effects of the virus are very large. And we must protect the most vulnerable,” he said.
Like much of the continent, the country’s schools, bars and restaurants have all been closed.
The Netherlands has recorded almost 3,000 cases of COVID-19, 106 of which were fatal.