Wednesday 20 January 2021

More support for coronavirus rules including face masks, RIVM survey finds

Photo: Odi Busman

Support for the rules to contain coronavirus has increased since the start of the second wave, according to the latest regular survey of attitudes by public health agency RIVM.

The poll, taken between November 11 and 15, found that 62% of people were avoiding busy places, up from 52% a month earlier, while 58% said they would go for a test if they had symptoms, compared to 42% in October.

Wearing face masks, which becomes compulsory from December 1, also enjoyed increasing public support, with 75% of people following the advice. Eight out of 10 said it was an easy rule to follow while 84% said they supported it in principle.

‘These are positive developments, because avoiding crowds and getting yourself tested sooner are good measures for bringing the epidemic under control,’ said Marijn de Bruijn of the RIVM’s behavioural unit.

However, only one-third of those questioned said they observed the quarantine and self-isolation rules if they were infected or waiting for a test result.

Many people had no contingency plan if they were required to stay at home – three-quarters could call on someone else to fetch their groceries, but less than half had arrangements for taking children to school or caring for dependent relatives.

Others said they were reluctant to stay home because they only had mild symptoms. ‘People weigh up the pros and cons and ask themselves if it’s only a cough or runny nose: Do I really have to stay home?’ said De Bruijn.

The most widely observed rule was the ban on shaking hands, which 99% of people said they were observing.

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