Compliance with the COVID-19 measures could still be improved, even though it appeared to remain more or less the same overall in recent months. There is still broad support for these measures. There does not appear to be any immediate “COVID-19 fatigue” in the sense of a decrease in urgency and compliance. However, since the stricter measures were implemented, there has been another decline in social and mental well-being, with younger people scoring the worst. This was clear from behavioural research  conducted by RIVM and the Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs) around New Year’s.

More visits

There was a significant increase in people visiting each other over the Christmas holidays: 73% of participants received at least 1 visit per week, compared to 60% in November and 45% during the first lockdown in April. Moreover, people were much less likely to stay 1.5 metres apart (44%) than in November (56%) and during the first lockdown in April (64%). On the other hand, there have been positive developments since November: the percentage of people getting tested for COVID-19 if they had symptoms has risen significantly (66%, up from 58%) and more people stayed home if they had symptoms (44%, up from 32%). Despite these positive developments, the weekly epidemiological data suggests that more infections occurred while visiting family and friends.

Increase in willingness to be vaccinated

In line with other studies, a sharp increase has been observed in the percentage of people who are willing to be vaccinated (now 80%, compared to 62% two measurements ago). Willingness to be vaccinated is highest among older people.

Confidence in policy decreased

45% of the respondents are positive or very positive about the government response in the Netherlands, which represents a decrease compared to November (58%). 21% are positive or very positive when comparing the Netherlands to other countries, compared to 43% in November. Also, compared to the previous measurement, fewer respondents feel that the government is carefully considering different social interests (from 63% to 55%) and explaining its decisions well (from 63% to 56%). The survey took place at the turn of the year. 

More figures on these topics and more can be found on the extensive page on the behavioural study.

About the study

In order to gain a better understanding of people’s thoughts about the coronavirus measures, what motivates them to comply, and how people are affected, a major study has been launched jointly by RIVM, the Netherlands Municipal Public Health Services and Medical Assistance in Accidents and Disasters (GGD-GHOR Nederland) and the Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs). It focuses on human behaviour, what people think of the government’s behavioural measures, and how they are doing. The results above were taken from the ninth survey of more than 51,000 people in the period from 30 December to 3 January and compared to results from the previous surveys. These insights help the government to provide better support and information to citizens.