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Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Netherlands

Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Netherlands

Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Netherlands

COVID-19 is caused by SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) and it was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, China. Since then, there have been outbreaks reported all over the world, including in the Netherlands. In March 2020, the World Health Organisation declared it a pandemic. Here is what you need to know about COVID-19 in the Netherlands:

Recent COVID-19 numbers in the Netherlands

What are the recent coronavirus numbers in the Netherlands? Are the numbers going down or are they going up? The chart below shows the recent COVID-19 numbers in the Netherlands:

Current / Live coronavirus updates: Testing

The GGD is testing people for coronavirus all over the country. See how and when you can get tested further down below. Here is how many people are being tested for COVID-19 in the Netherlands at the moment:

Coronavirus maps of the Netherlands

Want to know what the status of coronavirus is in the Netherlands versus the rest of Europe? The following map shows the biweekly change in confirmed COVID-19 cases in Europe:

COVID-19 mortality rate: Daily confirmed deaths in the Netherlands

Approximately how many people have died from COVID-19 in the Netherlands? What is the COVID-19 mortality rate? The following chart shows the number of confirmed deaths per day and is shown as the seven-day rolling average:

Latest Dutch news about Coronavirus (COVID-19)

You can find the latest news about COVID-19 in the Netherlands under Related Stories, down below. Here you will find articles concerning the coronavirus press conferences made by the Dutch government, the latest numbers from the RIVM, the current coronavirus measures, and more.

RIVM: COVID-19 new cases in the Netherlands

The Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) advises the government on control measures and develops guidelines and scenarios for professionals working in infectious disease control, for example on the best way to respond to an epidemic so the Dutch healthcare system won't collapse. In times of unprecedented health crises, the RIVM can assemble the Outbreak Management Team (OMT), made up of a number of specialists and experts from a variety of backgrounds, chaired by the director of the RIVM Centre for Infectious Disease Control. 

The RIVM publishes a weekly coronavirus report every Tuesday between 2pm and 3pm. It includes the number of reported COVID-19 infections, hospital admissions, and deaths from the previous seven days, as well as the total number of tests that were carried out by the GGD and what proportion of them came back positive.

Alongside the weekly COVID-19 figures, the RIVM publishes a press release with a more in-depth explanation and graphs that provide an overview of the coronavirus situation in the Netherlands, and how it has progressed since February. They also publish an extensive weekly epidemiological report (in Dutch).

COVID-19 measures of the Dutch government

Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge give regular press conferences to keep the people of the Netherlands up-to-date on the national coronavirus situation and inform them of any new measures or restrictions. IamExpat provides coverage of the measures that are announced.

Basic rules

While the severity of national and regional coronavirus measures has changed a number of times since the initial outbreak in the Netherlands in March, there are a number of standard rules that have been in place since the spring in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow
  • Blow your nose into a paper tissue and throw it away immediately after use
  • Do not shake hands
  • Keep 1,5-metre distance from the people around you
  • Limit travel as much as possible - stay home, work from home, avoid busy places
  • Wear a non-medical face mask in all public indoor areas

Those over the age of 70 or suffering from underlying health problems are advised to be extra cautious. 

CoronaMelder app

The Dutch coronavirus tracking app, CoronaMelder, launched nationally on October 10. It works via Bluetooth, assigning every mobile phone that has the app downloaded a unique personal ID to monitor a person’s movements and whether or not they have come into close or extended contact with someone who has registered themselves as having coronavirus.

If you test positive for the virus, you can press a button in the app to send an anonymous notification to everyone you’ve been in close contact with to notify them. If you receive the notification, you are advised to quarantine for 10 days.

For the app to work, both the infected person and the non-infected person have to have the app downloaded on their phones, but downloading the app hasn’t been made mandatory in the Netherlands. The CoronaMelder app is available in a number of languages, including Spanish, German, French, and English. For more information about the app, read our CoronaMelder guide.

Coronavirus dashboard

The coronavirus dashboard was developed by the Ministry of Health, and aims to provide a complete overview of the coronavirus situation in the Netherlands. It provides up-to-date information and figures, such as the R-number and the number of confirmed cases. You can access it via the RIVM website.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 - regularly referred to as corona in the Netherlands - is the disease caused by a new coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. The virus is highly contagious and is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes, releasing droplets of the virus into the air around them. If others inhale those droplets or get them in their mouth, nose, or eyes, they may become infected with the virus.

The severity of COVID-19 symptoms vary greatly from person to person, and in some cases, the virus can lead to the hospitalisation and death of a patient. However, others remain asymptomatic, making it even harder to track and control the spread of the virus.

COVID-19 symptoms

Common symptoms of COVID-19 are:

  • Stuffy and / or runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever
  • Sudden loss of taste and / or smell

If you have one or more of the above symptoms, you are encouraged to get tested and self-isolate until you have the results of the test. But, if you are suffering from severe symptoms (i.e. difficulty breathing or a fever above 38 degrees celsius) you are encouraged to call your GP or the local out of office medical centre (huisartsenpost) immediately.

Some people have reported a number of other symptoms, including tiredness / fatigue, muscle ache, dizziness, diarrhoea, nausea, and a variety of rashes / skin conditions.

COVID-19 prevention and treatments

It is possible that you are infected with the virus but are not (yet) showing symptoms. Therefore, it is important to prevent further spread by following the basic rules outlined by the Dutch government - wear a mask, cough / sneeze into your elbow, and maintain 1,5-metre distance. If you want to avoid becoming infected with the virus, then it is important to keep your distance from others, wash your hands regularly and thoroughly, and stay home as much as possible.

If you become infected with COVID-19 and are self-isolating at home, it is advised that you take paracetamol to treat pain or fever instead of ibuprofen. However, if your symptoms worsen and you need to be treated in hospital, there are two medicinal treatments that have a clinical effect in hospitalised COVID-19 patients:

  • Dexamethasone - a drug that suppresses the immune system and, in severe cases, has been shown to reduce the risk of death in hospitalised patients.
  • Remdesivir - an antiviral that is administered through an IV and can accelerate clinical recovery in COVID-19 patients who require supplemental oxygen.

FAQ about coronavirus in the Netherlands

COVID-19 is a new disease, caused by a new virus. As such, people have many questions about the virus and the situation in the Netherlands. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the coronavirus in the Netherlands. Please note that as this is a new disease, the answers may change over time.

How do I get tested for COVID-19 in the Netherlands?

At the moment, you can get tested for COVID-19 if you have (mild) coronavirus-related symptoms, such as a sudden loss of smell or taste, a cough, a fever and / or a cold. The Dutch government has stated that in the future, testing will be made possible for people with no symptoms.

To get tested, you will need to make an appointment. You can do so by calling the toll-free number 0800 1202. If you are calling from a foreign phone, you will need to call +31 850 659 063. You can also make an appointment online using your DigiD.

Whether you make the appointment by phone or online, you need to make sure you have your BSN (citizen service number) at hand. Do you have severe symptoms, or do you belong to one of the at-risk groups? You will need to contact your GP or A&E department. If the situation becomes life-threatening, you should call the emergency number 112.

Where can I get tested for coronavirus in the Netherlands?

After you have made your appointment, you will be assigned a GGD test location. Some of these locations can only be accessed by car. You will need to stay at home until it’s time for your appointment. Don’t forget to bring the confirmation of the appointment and proof of identity, such as a passport.

How do they test for the coronavirus?

After arriving at the test location, a GGD staff member will swab your throat and nose to collect mucus. The cotton swab will go deep into your nose and throat, which will probably feel uncomfortable. After the test, you will need to go home and quarantine until you have received the test results.

How long will it take before I will know the test results?

The GGD aims to contact you within two days of taking the test. Of course, you may need to wait a little longer if it’s very busy at the testing locations. Did you make your appointment by phone? You will receive a phone call with your results as soon as possible.

Did you make your appointment online? You will be notified by email that your results are available on the coronavirus test website. However, if you test positive, you will receive a phone call.

When do I need to quarantine myself because of coronavirus?

You will need to stay in isolation if you have coronavirus symptoms or if you have COVID-19. If you are not sure if you have COVID-19, you should make an appointment to get yourself tested. If you have COVID-19, the GGD will tell you how long you will have to stay in home isolation.

If someone in your household has tested positive for COVID-19, you will need to go into quarantine. You will also have to go into quarantine if you have had close contact with someone who is infected and if you have travelled to a code orange country or area.

How do I know if someone I have been in contact with has COVID-19?

There are various ways in which you can be notified that you have had contact with someone who has COVID-19. For instance, you can be called by the person whom you have had contact with, the GGD may call you after their contract tracing research, and if you have installed the CoronaMelder app, you will get a notification on your phone.

Who is at risk when it comes to COVID-19?

The risk groups for the novel coronavirus are as follows:

  • People over 70 years old
  • Adults with underlying health symptoms, such as people with respiratory problems, heart problems, diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, an autoimmune disease, as well as people with morbid obesity.

Who can I turn to for help when it comes to coronavirus?

If you are feeling stressed, lonely or afraid because of the coronavirus, or if you have questions about the virus, you can contact Steunpunt Coronazorgen. You can also contact them when you are a healthcare worker, if you are taking care of someone who is sick or if you are recovering from COVID-19.

How long does it take to recover from COVID-19

This differs from person to person. There is still a lot the medical world does not know about the virus. Some people are asymptomatic, some people only have mild symptoms, while others need to be taken to hospital. Some recover within days, while others will have related issues for weeks or even months. However, generally, your recovery time will also depend on how healthy you were before you got the virus.

Can I get COVID-19 for a second time?

There have been reports around the world that some people have been reinfected with the virus, including in the Netherlands. However, the RIVM states that it is not yet possible to draw any firm conclusions about reinfection, as the number of reported reinfections is simply too low. Remember, that if you have had COVID-19, you should still follow the basic coronavirus measures of the government.

Coronavirus and your job

It’s possible that the pandemic has impacted your job. Many people over the world have been working from home since the outbreak. There have also been many people who have lost their jobs. If your employer does not have any work for you because of the coronavirus, or you have been let go because of the virus, it is possible to apply for unemployment benefits. Looking for jobs in the Netherlands? Find your dream job now, with the help of IamExpat Jobs

Coronavirus and your business

As the coronavirus measures in the Netherlands have affected entrepreneurs and self-employed people profoundly, the Dutch government has put in place various financial schemes, such as the NOW (temporary emergency scheme for job retention) and TOZO (temporary self-employment income support and loan scheme) to help them out. See for which financial schemes you are eligible.

Coronavirus, schools, and your child’s education

The Dutch government has been finding ways to keep schools in the Netherlands open as much as possible throughout the coronavirus crisis, as education is considered vital for children’s well-being, development, and health. Furthermore, scientific evidence suggests that the spread of COVID-19 among children or between children and adults is limited. 

However, the RIVM does advise that primary and secondary schools, universities and childcare facilities pay extra attention to hygiene and cleanliness, and ensure good ventilation in classrooms by leaving windows open at a tilt, by opening ventilation grilles or gaps, or by using mechanical ventilators. 

Coronavirus and travel to / from the Netherlands

As an expat, you are probably wondering if you are allowed to travel to your home country and back. Or perhaps you are thinking about taking a holiday. As the novel coronavirus has affected the whole world, travelling has become more difficult. Some countries have closed their borders, while others have compulsory quarantine periods in place. Most, if not all,  Dutch airports have coronavirus measures in place. 

The website of the Dutch government shows the current situation when it comes to travel to / from the Netherlands. This info may change at any time, depending on the situation. So, it is a good idea to check it before you book any flights.

Please note that if you are travelling by public transport in the Netherlands, wearing a mask is mandatory. 

COVID 19 and events in the Netherlands

Many events in the Netherlands, such as festivals, concerts and fairs, have been cancelled, gone online or have been made corona-proof. IamExpat aims to keep our list of events as up-to-date as possible, but it is always a good idea to check the official site of the event you are interested in.

COVID-19 and pregnancy

It is worth noting that there is no evidence to suggest that pregnant women are more susceptible to COVID-19. The RIVM also notes that there is no data that suggests that, should a pregnant woman become infected with the virus, COVID-19 increases the risk of miscarriage or birth defects. The effects of COVID-19 on a pregnant woman do not appear to be any different to those from any other respiratory infection.

The same basic measures and symptoms apply to pregnant women, and if you are pregnant and start showing symptoms, the RIVM encourages you to follow the same steps as someone who is not pregnant: getting tested and self-isolating at home.

COVID 19 and animals

There have been a handful of reports from around the world of animals becoming infected with COVID-19. In the Netherlands, a number of mink farms have been forced to close following an outbreak of the virus among the animals. Some pets have also become infected with the virus, and in almost all cases they appear to have contracted it from their owners who tested positive for the virus.

There has been no evidence to suggest that an infected cat or dog can pass the virus along to another cat or dog, or to a human. However, on the mink farms that experienced outbreaks, some members of staff contracted COVID-19 from the infected animals.

If you own a pet, the RIVM issues the following advice:

  • If someone in your household is showing symptoms, there is little chance of the pet becoming infected, but avoid cuddling or close contact with the animal until the results of your COVID-19 test are known (if possible, arrange for someone else to care for your pet during this time).
  • If someone in your household is showing symptoms and the pet is showing symptoms, keep the pet indoors and avoid it coming into contact with other animals and people as much as possible - if the animal has severe shortness of breath and / or diarrhoea, contact your vet.