Struggling with social restrictions

People are struggling more and more with the social restrictions. The 1-visitor measure is particularly unpopular: the number of participants who support this measure dropped from 57% to 47% compared to the previous survey round. The number of participants who said that they had not received more than 1 visitor per day in the past week was 72%, compared to 81% in the previous survey round (in comparison: compliance was at 95% when the maximum was 2 visitors or more). Only 37% see people around them complying with this measure, compared to 50% in the previous round and 60% in the two rounds before that, when the maximum was still at 2 visitors.

The results show that participants are giving themselves more room overall. More people received visitors (from 58% to 64% had at least 1 visit in the past week), and participants left the house more often on average, primarily to work (45%, compared to 38% in the previous round), to exercise or play sports outside the home (13%, up from 5%), or to visit friends and family (63%, up from 52%).

Increase in testing and staying home with symptoms

At the same time, we see that participants were more cautious if they had symptoms that could be related to COVID-19. Of the participants who have symptoms now, or had symptoms in the past 6 weeks – which they do not attribute (definitely or probably) to an underlying health condition – 63% stated that they had been tested, compared to 51% in the previous survey round. 62% of participants who had had close contact with an infected person stated that they had been tested, compared to 54% in the previous survey round. 

Participants with symptoms were also more likely to stay home: 45% said they stayed home and did not go out at all, and 75% did not receive any visitors during the quarantine period. Those figures were 33% and 65% in the previous survey round (not including leaving the house only to get tested). Of the participants who had had close contact with an infected person, 60% stated that they had stayed home, and 89% stated that they had not received any visitors.

The figures for testing and quarantine were quite a bit lower for study participants who had returned from abroad: only 11% stated that they had been tested after their return, and 21% stayed home. That is about the same as in the previous survey round.

Children and testing

For the first time, this survey round also included questions about having children tested, More than half (57%) of the participants who have children stated that one or more of their children had had symptoms or been in contact with an infected person within the past 6 weeks. 67% of children with symptoms had already been tested, or a test had been scheduled. That rose to 81% among children who had been in contact with an infected person. The main reasons provided for not having children tested were ‘my child has very mild symptoms’ (37%), ‘I think the test will be very unpleasant for my child’ (36%) and ‘it is very unlikely that my child has COVID-19’ (30%).

Majority supports more freedom after vaccination or negative test result

This survey round also included the first questions about support for a possible ‘corona passport’. Participants were asked if they would agree for people to have access to certain locations and events if they had been vaccinated, had a recent negative test result, or had recently recovered from a confirmed COVID-19 infection. Figures from round 11 indicate that about 70% of the participants would support a corona passport based on the first two conditions (70% for vaccination, 68% for negative test), but that a minority also supports that for people who recently had COVID-19. Support for the corona passport does not vary significantly depending on the type of location or event for which it would be used: 65-76% of participants would support the corona passport for gaining access to events, cultural locations, work locations and schools/universities.

These findings and more were clear from the eleventh round of the survey-based study conducted by the RIVM Corona Behavioural Unit in cooperation with GGD GHOR and the 25 Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs), conducted between 24 and 28 March 2021 among more than 47,000 participants.