Dutch measures against coronavirus: basic rules for everyone
The information on this website will shortly be updated on the basis of the most recent press conference, held on 28 September at 7 pm.
We can only get the virus under control if everyone follows the basic rules about hygiene, keeping a distance from others and avoiding busy places.
Basic rules for everyone
For everyone in the Netherlands:
- If you have symptoms, get tested as soon as possible and stay at home.
- Stay 1.5 metres away from other people.
- Wash your hands often.
- Cough and sneeze into your elbow.
- Work from home if possible.
- Avoid busy places and travel outside peak hours if possible.
Work from home if possible
The advice to work from home whenever possible will continue to apply after 1 September.
- Where working from home is not possible, employers will stagger working hours.
- Avoid peak hours.
- Wash your hands often.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, then dry them thoroughly.
- Wash your hands: before you go out, when you return home, after blowing your nose and of course before meals and after going to the toilet.
- Cough and sneeze into your elbow.
- Use paper tissues to blow your nose and discard them after use.
- Then wash your hands.
- Don’t shake hands with others.
The 1.5 metre rule
- Stay 1.5 metres (2 arms lengths) away from other people.
- This applies to everyone over the age of 18: in the street, in shops and other buildings and at work – even if you are a key worker. It does not apply to family members or other people that you live with. And it does not apply if you are providing assistance to someone, for example pushing a wheelchair.
- Keeping a distance of 1.5 metres reduces the chance of people infecting each other.
- Leave if you notice it is becoming difficult to keep a distance of 1.5 metres.
Avoid busy places
The virus can spread easily among people in groups. And carrying out source and contact tracing is more difficult when large numbers of people have gathered together in groups. If people gather in groups and this poses a safety or public health risk, enforcement officers can take action
Get tested and stay at home if you have symptoms
It is crucial that everyone with symptoms of COVID-19 gets tested. This allows for people who have had contact with a person with COVID-19 to be informed as soon as possible. Then, they can take steps to ensure they don’t contribute to the further spread of the virus. Read more information about testing.
- Symptoms that may point to COVID-19 are: a stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, a sore throat, a mild cough, a sudden loss of smell or taste, a fever and shortness of breath.
- If you have one or more of these symptoms, get tested. Stay at home until you receive the results. If you have shortness of breath or fever above 38 degrees Celsius, all members of your household must also stay at home until you receive the results. If they have symptoms, they must also get tested.
- If the test shows that you do not have coronavirus, you and other members of your household can leave your home again. If you feel well enough, you can go outside and go to work. Children can go back to school or childcare. If your symptoms get worse, change or don’t go away, call your doctor. In a life-threatening situation, always call 112.
- If the test shows you do have coronavirus, you and all members of your household must stay at home. The municipal health service (GGD) will tell you what else you and the people you have been in contact with need to do. For more information about the rules at home and what to do if you have coronavirus, go to the RIVM website.
The GGD conducts contact tracing. This involves getting in touch with those who have been in contact with an infected individual and giving them advice on what they should and should not do. For people who have been in close contact with someone who has coronavirus, this includes advising them to self-quarantine.
- If you are seriously ill, call your doctor or the out-of-hours GP service (‘huisartsenpost’) immediately. In a life-threatening situation, always call 112.
Health advice for everyone
A healthy lifestyle keeps your immune system strong. A strong immune system helps protect people from bacteria and viruses that can make them sick, such as coronavirus. People with a strong immune system get sick less often. And, if they do get sick, they usually recover more quickly. A healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be complicated. Small changes can make a difference. Keep yourself healthy:
- Try to do at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day.
- Eat a variety of healthy foods, including lots of fruit and vegetables.
- Drink lots of water.
- Don’t drink more than one alcoholic drink a day (and don’t drink at all if you are under 18).
- Stop smoking. See Ikstopnu.nl for tips and advice to stop smoking (only in Dutch).
Advice for people with health issues (at-risk groups)
Coronavirus does not affect everyone in the same way. Some people have hardly any symptoms, while others become seriously ill. However, it is clear that some groups have a higher risk of becoming very ill or even dying.
- People aged 70 and over have a higher risk of becoming seriously ill if they get coronavirus. This applies to healthy older people, but particularly to older people who are not fully independent. People with underlying health conditions also have a higher risk of becoming seriously ill with coronavirus. If you have health issues, take extra care and follow the basic rules carefully.
- Care homes with no coronavirus cases are required to admit at least one visitor per resident. Care homes will assess the situation and decide when residents can receive more visitors. Guidelines have been drawn up for this purpose. These are available on the website of the care providers’ organisation Actiz.
- In the event of an outbreak in a care home, all residents and staff will be tested weekly.
- It is especially important to follow the basic rules when visiting people who fall into an at-risk group. This includes staying 1.5 metres apart. Make clear arrangements and check before the visit whether anyone has symptoms. If a visitor or a person they want to visit has cold-like symptoms, a fever or shortness of breath, the visit should be postponed. Visits should take place outdoors, if possible, because this is safer.
Advice for children and teenagers
- Children aged 0 to 4 can go to daycare or their childminder if they have cold-like symptoms (a stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, a sore throat). as long as they do not have a fever. The same applies to the youngest children at primary schools (‘groep 1’ and ‘groep 2’). They can go to school and out-of-school care if they have cold-like symptoms but no fever.
- This does not apply if the child has been in contact with someone who has coronavirus or if the child lives with an adult who has a fever or a shortness of breath.
- Children aged 12 and under do not have to stay 1.5 metres away from other children. All other hygiene rules also apply to children.
- Teenagers aged between 13 and 17 (inclusive) do not have to stay 1.5 metres apart from each other. At secondary schools, this rule applies to all pupils, regardless of their age. At secondary vocational education and higher education institutions, all students must stay 1.5 apart, regardless of their age.