Frequently asked questions about the approach to tackling coronavirus in the Netherlands

What are the basic rules in the Netherlands? Read the frequently asked questions about tackling the coronavirus in the Netherlands.

What is the Dutch approach?

The Netherlands’ approach is aimed at keeping the virus under control as much as possible in order to protect vulnerable groups and make sure the healthcare system can cope. Thanks to people complying with the measures, the situation has improved since March. The figures show a positive trend. This means we are past the first phase of the outbreak. 

Restrictions can only be lifted if we strengthen the control we have gained over the virus since March. In this new phase everyone must follow certain basic rules.

What basic rules apply to everyone?

  • Stay 1.5 metres away from other people.
  • Avoid busy places.
  • Work from home if possible.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Stay at home if you have cold-like symptoms.
  • If you have COVID-19, you and all the members of your household must stay at home for 14 days.
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow and use paper tissues to blow your nose and discard them after use.

What additional advice applies to people with health issues?

People aged 70 and over and people with underlying health conditions have a higher risk of becoming seriously ill from coronavirus. If you have health issues, take extra care. It is a good idea to stay at home as much as possible for now.

What does keeping the virus under control mean?

Keeping the virus under control means making sure the pressure on the healthcare system and the number of infections remain manageable.

How do I avoid busy places?

Leave a place if you notice it is becoming difficult to keep a distance of 1.5 metres. Stay near your home. Travel by bike or on foot as much as possible. Only use public transport if there is no alternative. Where working from home is not possible, employers will stagger working hours.

The relaxation of measures doesn’t apply to my specific situation. What should I do?

It is impossible to make centralised decisions that cover every possible situation. In practice there will be unforeseen problems. And there might not be ready answers to every individual question. But practical solutions can be found by working together. This approach is one that we as a country have to shape.

How will the spread of the virus be tracked?

The government will start by relaxing restrictions at local or neighbourhood level. That will not make public spaces much busier. The government will then relax restrictions at regional level and finally at national level. First small gatherings will be allowed, and later larger gatherings, so that everything remains as manageable and orderly as possible. Each step can only be taken if the virus stays under control. This must be done with great care. If circumstances require, any decision to relax measures will be reversed.

Why are restrictions being lifted step by step?

The Dutch approach has worked well in bringing coronavirus under control. The risk has certainly not disappeared, but if we continue to follow the basic rules, we can gradually allow ourselves more freedom. The government will start by relaxing restrictions at local or neighbourhood level. That will not make our roads and public transport much busier. The government will then relax restrictions at regional level and finally at national level. First small gatherings will be allowed, and later larger gatherings, so that everything remains as manageable and orderly as possible.

What does taking the next step depend on?

Restrictions can only be lifted if the virus remains under control and if people stay 1.5 metres away from others. Further relaxation of the lockdown also depends on the extent to which the healthcare system is coping and how busy roads and public places are. 

Can the decision to lift restrictions be reversed?

The government can decide at any time to reverse the relaxation of measures. For example, if the number of infected people starts to increase rapidly again.

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