Coronavirus in the Netherlands: what you need to know

Photo: Odi Busman
Museums have been closed. Photo: Odi Busman

The Dutch government on Sunday announced new nationwide measures to try to contain the coronavirus epidemic in the Netherlands. Here’s what you need to know.

New measures

  • Schools and daycare centres are to be closed up to and including April 6
  • Schools and daycare centres will provide supervision for the children of healthcare, public transport and emergency service workers, so they can continue to work.
  • Teachers will organise distance learning for children who are at home, with priority for children who are due to take final exams this year.
  • Cafes and restaurants, but not hotels, are to close from Sunday March 15 at 6pm up to and including April 6
  • Sports clubs, fitness centres and gyms to close up to and including April 6
  • Sex clubs and cannabis cafes (coffee shops) will also close from March 15 at 6pm up to and including Monday April 6.
  • Where possible, people should keep 1.5 metres apart. This includes when shopping.

Other measures

  • If you have a cold, a cough, sore throat or a fever stay home. Avoid contact with others. Only call your doctor if your symptoms get worse.
  • Museums, theatres and concert halls are closed and all events for over 100 people are banned.
  • Churches and mosques are also cancelling their services
  • Work from home if possible or stagger your working times.
  • Try to avoid close contact with the elderly and people with weakened immune systems.
  • In particular, elderly people and those with weakened immune systems are asked to avoid public transport.
  • Healthcare workers are being asked to stay home only if they have symptoms including a fever. They are also being asked not to travel abroad.

The Dutch public health institute RIVM and World Health Organisation say everyone should follow these instructions to prevent infection:

  • Avoid shaking hands and physical contact
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap or alcohol rub
  • Sneeze into a tissue orĀ  your elbow
  • Use paper tissues and dispose of them immediately
  • Stay away at least one metre away from people who are sneezing or coughing
  • Avoid touching your face with your hands, which may have picked up the virus

The RIVM says face masks should only be worn by medical staff. Most of the paper masks used by the general public are worthless and offer a false sense of security, officials say.

Coronavirus in the Netherlands, the questions you want answered

Tests for coronavirus can only be requested via the local health board or a hospital and it takes around 24 hours for the test results to come through.

Testing is currently only being carried out on people who have worsening symptoms and have been in an at risk area or in contact with people who have coronavirus.

The RIVM has an interactive map showing where corona infections are being confirmed.

Can I still go on holiday?
The Dutch foreign affairs ministry has up-to-date advice on foreign travel and has set up a red to green coding system for coronavirus. Currently China, Iran and Italy should be avoided for all but essential travel. The Dutch government website has more information in English.

The Netherlands is not accepting passenger flights from China, Iran, Italy and South Korea until April 6 at least.

The US has imposed a travel ban on all incoming flights from the EU.

Official information sources in English
Dutch public health institute RIVM
Dutch government website
The government has also published flyers in a variety of languages about the recommended hygiene measures.

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