Monday 23 May 2022

People less inclined to observe coronavirus rules as infection number rises


People are less inclined to keep to the social distancing rules and will go out even if they have symptoms that could indicate infection with coronavirus, an RIVM poll of some 50,000 people shows.

The poll, which is updated every six weeks, is part of an investigation started in April into people’s willingness to comply with the coronavirus rules. Only 28% of the respondents said they never come too close to family members and friends. At the end of April, when the first poll was conducted, that percentage was 63%.

Half of the respondents said they had been to a crowded place where the 1.5 metre distance rule was impossible to maintain. Shops were mentioned in particular while bars, cultural and sporting venues were other places where people came too close to each other.

The percentage of people willing to take a test when experiencing symptoms that could indicate they have been infected, such as a runny nose, sore throat or shortness of breath, was up slightly but at 19% it is still relatively low, the poll indicated.

Staying at home with symptoms, one of the RIVM’s main messages, is largely ignored. 89% of respondents went shopping at least once despite having symptoms while 63% visited friends and relatives. Almost half went to work.

Most supported the government measures although 43% were of the opinion that face masks, currently compulsory for use in public transport, do not play a big role in halting the spread of the virus. The easiest rule to comply with is the no shaking hands rule, with 89% saying they no longer shake hands.

More infections

As coronavirus infections have risen in the last two weeks, GroenLinks, the SP and Labour have called on health minister Hugo de Jonge to return from holiday to evaluate the situation.

More widespread compulsory use of face masks remains deeply controversial, but the cabinet have asked the Outbreak Management Team to come up with a recommendation regarding their use. The cabinet says it has not been proved that masks are better at stopping virus spread and they will not replace other measures.

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