RIVM: The Netherlands’ faith in government and coronavirus approach has fallen
The most recent survey conducted by the National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM) has revealed that, while overall support for the coronavirus measures in place in the Netherlands has remained stable, many have lost faith in the Dutch government and its approach to the pandemic.
People in the Netherlands losing faith in Dutch government
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, the RIVM has conducted regular surveys in order to better understand the public’s response to the virus and any restrictions introduced by the government. The most recent survey was carried out between December 30 and January 3 among more than 51.000 participants.
The RIVM found that, especially over the Christmas period, people were less likely to adhere to the lockdown measures than they were in the spring. However, respondents said they were more likely to be tested and quarantine if they were suffering symptoms, were more likely to be vaccinated (80 percent versus 62 percent in November). The survey also showed that the emergence of the new, highly contagious mutation of the virus means the perceived urgency of the situation has also risen (47 percent are concerned versus 41 percent in the previous survey).
The most striking results, however, have revealed that the public’s trust in the government and its approach to the pandemic has slipped significantly since November (45 percent versus 58 percent). The survey also found that people were more likely to feel that the government didn’t weigh up all social interests properly and that their decisions weren’t explained properly (56 percent compared to 63 percent in November for both).
Coronavirus measures likely to stay until March
The most recent government press conference revealed that the current coronavirus lockdown was to be extended by three weeks, remaining in place until (at least) February 9. Prime Minister Mark Rutte also announced his plans to consider implementing a national curfew.
While the government does hope to be able to allow primary schools to reopen before the lockdown is fully lifted, it seems as though the rest of the measures will remain in place well past February 9. In their advice to the cabinet, the Outbreak Management Team (OMT) said measures could only be relaxed in March at the earliest.
According to the OMT, it will take a while before the current pressure on the Dutch healthcare system has eased enough to allow for (some) measures to be lifted. Rutte’s goal of reaching “only” 40 hospital and 10 intensive care admissions per day will likely be reached by early March, says the OMT.