We are learning more and more about the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and the disease COVID-19, caused by the virus. On this page, you will find answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ) and everything we know about the coronavirus so far.

Frequently asked questions

What is Long COVID?

Some people have long-term symptoms after a SARS-CoV-2 infection. This is referred to as ‘Long COVID’ or ‘PASC’: Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2. These symptoms may persist for several weeks after COVID-19, but could sometimes last several months. Read more about Long COVID.

What we know about the variants (mutations) of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2?

Many variants of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 are circulating worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) determines which are considered Variants of Concern and which are Variants of Interest. RIVMNational Institute for Public Health and the Environment follows those recommendations. We monitor these variants and map their presence due to their (potential) high-risk characteristics and degree of spread. Through the national Pathogen Surveillance, we are also monitoring the coronavirus variants present in the Netherlands. Read more about the virus variants in the Netherlands

I have hay fever or allergies. Can I go outside or go to work?

In principle, yes. If you have hay fever, you have the same symptoms every year at about the same time. You will be able to recognise the normal symptoms of hay fever. The same applies to symptoms that you usually get if you are allergic to something. If there is any doubt, or if the symptoms feel different, get tested and stay home until you get the results.

Is any research being done on the role of viral spread among and by children in this pandemic?

Initiated by RIVM, various studies are being conducted on the role that children play in the spread of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Contagiousness increases with age. In general, the younger the children, the less significant the role they play in spreading the virus.

Do children pass on the UK variant of the virus more easily?

Transmission of the UK variant is probably faster and more extensive than the former variant.

What role do secondary school students play in the spread of the virus?

There is an increased number of infections at all ages. That includes children, teens and young adults. Yet children play a minor role in spreading the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. COVID-19 is less common in children and they spread the virus less often. The number of infections in children and how contagious they are do increase as they get older. The virus is often spread outside of school, during intensive contact in their free time with friends or classmates. Infection at school and in the classroom is limited.

I have schoolchildren. How likely am I to get infected?

The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is mainly spread between adults and from adult family members to children. The spread of COVID-19 among children or from children to adults is less common. In general, the younger the children, the less significant the role they play in spreading the virus. Read more about the spread of the virus.

Even at home, it is important to follow the basic recommendations as much as possible, such as hygiene rules, and to get children older than 13 years tested if they show any symptoms.

Read more about children and the virus.

How important is ventilation in preventing the spread of the virus?

Good ventilation is very important. When you are indoors with other people, it is important to ventilate the room well. Good ventilation is necessary for a healthy and pleasant indoor climate. It also helps to limit transmission of respiratory infections, such as COVID-19. Read more about ventilation

Where can I find information about the night-time curfew?

A night-time curfew applies throughout the Netherlands from 23 January on. People can only be outdoors between 21.00 and 4.30 if they have a valid reason. More information about the curfew on Government.nl.

Can I get tested for COVID-19 without symptoms?

From 1 December on, other recommendations apply to a limited group of higher-risk people: if you have been in quarantine for 5 days (after your last contact with someone with COVID-19), you can get tested. 97% of the contacts that developed symptoms did so within 7 days. The virus can be detected with a PCR test 1 to 2 days before the symptoms start.
Can I get tested after a COVID-19 infection once I am symptom-free again? 

(For example as a declaration for your work that you no longer have COVID-19).
Without symptoms there is no point in getting tested for COVID-19. This also applies if you have had the coronavirus and are symptom-free again.
Read more about testing and COVID-19

When am I a close contact of someone who has COVID-19, and therefore need to go into quarantine?

  • If you were less than 1.5 metres apart from someone with COVID-19 for longer than 15 minutes
  • If someone with COVID-19 coughs or sneezes in your face
  • If you have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, but are not a close contact, you do not have to follow any exceptional rules. However, do monitor your health.
  • A household member could also be a close contact, but the rules for those contacts are different than for other close contacts.

How do I find out if I am a close contact of someone who has COVID-19?

  • If the person with COVID-19 reports the infection to the Municipal Public Health Service (GGD), in which case the GGD will contact you
  • If your own contacts notify you about their infection
  • If you have installed the CoronaMelder app, you could be notified.

What should I do if I am a close contact of someone who has COVID-19?

  • Follow the rules for close contacts and stay home for 10 days after your last contact with the infected person. Do not go to work, do not go shopping and do not use public transport to travel.
  • Monitor your health closely.
  • If you develop symptoms that could indicate COVID-19, then get tested.
  • No symptoms for 10 days? Then you can go outside again after that.

When do I have to stay home if I have symptoms?

Stay home if you have one or more of the following symptoms that could indicate COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Symptoms that occur frequently included symptoms (such as a nasal cold, runny nose, sneezing, sore throat), coughing, shortness of breath, elevated temperature or fever, or sudden loss of smell and/or taste (without nasal congestion). See also the other symptoms that have been reported by people with COVID-19. 

Read more about the symptoms on the page about coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

When am I contagious if I have the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2?

You may already be contagious shortly before you start showing symptoms. If you shout or scream, small droplets containing the virus could fly into the air from your nose and mouth. This could also happen as a result of sneezing and coughing. Other people could become infected if they inhale those droplets, or get them in their mouth, nose or eyes, for example via their hands.  

Read more about the spread of COVID-19

Are pregnant women more likely to become infected with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2? 

Based on the current knowledge, pregnant women do not seem to have a higher risk of getting COVID-19; this means that they do not appear to be more susceptible to becoming infected with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 than women who are not pregnant. As always, it remains important to follow the current measures.

Read more about pregnancy and COVID-19

How does RIVM handle results from new research (in the Netherlands and internationally)?

RIVM closely follows international publications on research studies. If new insights emerge from Dutch and international research results, RIVM will adapt its recommendations and guidelines accordingly. 

Read more about COVID-19 research