RIVM: More people tested for coronavirus, more support for government measures

RIVM: More people tested for coronavirus, more support for government measures

The results of the sixth round of the National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM) and GGD study into the behaviour and perceptions of the general public during the coronavirus crisis has revealed that more people are getting tested for the virus when they start to show symptoms, and that recently there has been renewed support for government coronavirus measures.

Public perception of the virus and support for government measures

These results come from the most recent round of the behavioural study, carried out between August 19 and August 23. They reveal that, as the number of infections has again begun to rise, more people believe a second wave is (very) likely. When asked in early July, only 67 percent of respondents thought a second wave would happen; this has now risen to 76 percent. People have also become significantly more concerned about the virus (rising from 34 percent to 43 percent).

In previous rounds of the study, the RIVM found that there was decreasing support for the measures laid out by the Dutch government. However, August saw support rise again: support for the 1,5-metre distance rule grew by 14 percent, and the rule advising people to avoid (large) crowds saw support increase by seven percent. 

Getting tested for coronavirus 

The most striking change in behaviour is that members of the public are now more likely to get tested for the coronavirus if they start showing symptoms. In August, 32 percent of people who suffered from symptoms had gotten tested for the virus - almost double the percentage from July. 

However, the results of the survey suggest that many people who are showing symptoms don’t self isolate. 90 percent of respondents who said they had experienced symptoms in the six weeks between stage five and stage six of the study said they have been outside to do their shopping. 43 percent said they had been going to work, 64 percent said they had visited family or friends, and 41 percent had been out to a bar or restaurant for a drink or a meal. 

These results show that, in spite of the fact that there is significant support for the advice to stay home if you are showing symptoms - 84 percent of respondents were in favour of this rule - many people still fail to follow the advice.

(Social) Distancing in the Netherlands

49 percent of study participants indicated that, in the past week, they had been in an area where it had been too busy to keep a 1,5-metre distance. The results of the study show that places where people struggle the most to keep their distance are parties (e.g. birthday parties), where 31 percent of respondents had struggled; at work, where 25 percent of respondents had experienced difficulties; and when out shopping, where 13 percent had struggled. 

On a more positive note, results show that there are a number of places where it is possible to keep the advised 1,5-metre distance. Two-thirds of respondents said they could easily do so on a trip to the cinema, and almost half said it was possible while at school or when at a catering establishment (horeca). 

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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