Opinion in the Netherlands divided over coronavirus tracking app

Opinion in the Netherlands divided over coronavirus tracking app

According to a survey by the RIVM and several Dutch universities, the population of the Netherlands is almost evenly divided over using an app that allows the user to track whether they have been in contact with someone who has been infected with the coronavirus.

A population divided

A survey by the public health institute, the RIVM, and Delft, Maastricht and VU universities has revealed that the Dutch population is almost evenly divided overusing a coronavirus tracking app. 926 people took part in the survey, with around a third of respondents saying they would download the app without questions, another third were uncertain and the final third said they would definitely not download the app.

The app itself will allow users to track whether they have come into contact with someone who has the coronavirus. Because of this, the more people who download the app, the more effective it will be. The health minister, Hugo de Jonge, has previously said that 60 percent of the population will have to download the app for it to be effective.

People can report that they have been infected through the app, which requires a confirmation code from the GGD, which will then alert other users through location services.

Using the app

People who are still uncertain about using the app have questioned the effectiveness and logistics of tracking COVID-19 amongst the population through mobile phones. Concerns have also been raised regarding privacy.

Researcher Niek Mouter told reporters that the government would have to look into how effective the app will be if less than 60 percent of the population download it, as well as into the least amount of people who must use the app before it becomes useless.

The Ministry has said that it got the 60 percent threshold from a study undertaken by researchers at Oxford University. The same study also showed that a lower proportion of users would also be expected to decrease the number of infections and deaths.

The Ministry of Public Health has said that it hopes that most of the population uses the app. It also stated that it recognises that “trust is crucial” and therefore “privacy is central.” It is not compulsory to download and use the app.

William Nehra


William Nehra

William studied a masters in Classics at the University of Amsterdam. He is a big fan of Ancient History and football, particularly his beloved Watford FC.

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