Saturday 26 September 2020

Dutch back coronavirus rules in principle but not in practice, survey finds

Photo: Alex Nicholls-Lee

Nine in 10 people in the Netherlands have gone shopping despite having symptoms that resemble coronavirus, according to a survey by health authorities.

Support for the coronavirus rules has grown in recent months, with 82% of people backing the 1.5 metre distance rule and 69% working from home at least part of the time. In July, when the poll was last carried out, 68% of people supported social distancing and 58% worked from home.

However, when it came to the crunch people struggled to act on their good intentions. While 84% of people said those with symptoms should stay home, 90% went shopping at least once while feeling unwell, 64% admitted they had visited friends or family, 43% went to work and 41% visited a bar, restaurant or café.

Nearly half of those (45%) who were aware they had been in contact with someone who tested positive did not go into self-isolation as required. A similar proportion did not submit themselves for a test when they had Covid-like symptoms such as coughing or a high temperature.

Respondents mostly approved of the government’s measures to control coronavirus, with the exception of face masks on public transport, which only 43% of people saw as making a difference. However, confidence in the government’s overall strategy fell from 75% in April to 52% in the most recent survey at the end of August.

Around 44% of people said they would use the coronavirus tracker app when it becomes available, with 39% believing it would help contain the spread of the disease. However, only 37% believed that the information shared in the app would remain confidential.

The survey of more than 61,000 people is being carried out every six weeks by the public health agency RIVM in collaboration with the regional health service network GGD.

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