Vrouwen op een trap

With the rapid increase in infections, people estimate their own risk of becoming infected as higher than it was 6 weeks ago (previously 10%, now 18%). 5 in 10 people are concerned and 3 in 10 people feel helpless, anxious and stressed. This places the perceived sense of threat from the novel coronavirus at the same level as in April 2020. This was clear from the seventh round of the behavioural study conducted by RIVM and the Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs) that took place in early October (shortly after the press conference on 29 September, and before the new measures of 13 October).

In many situations, people state that they are keeping their distance more often, and finding it easier to do so. Public support for avoiding crowds and staying 1.5 metres apart is higher than before (above 90%). And despite the burden on the GGD test lanes, the percentage of people with symptoms who got tested still remained the same (42% now compared to 45% 6 weeks previously).

Staying home: self-isolation and quarantine

Staying home if you have symptoms is important to prevent the novel coronavirus from spreading. 8 in 10 people support this coronavirus measure, but have a hard time following it in practice. Only 3 in 10 survey participants indicated that they stayed home if they had symptoms (including mild symptoms) or after returning from a high-risk area. In the event of a confirmed COVID-19 infection, 8 in 10 people stay home; if a household member tests positive, 6 in 10 people indicate that they do not leave their home at all. When someone is advised by the GGD to stay home due to source and contact tracing, 5 in 10 people indicate that they do so. When people do leave the home, they primarily go out for practical reasons such as grocery shopping, because they are unable to work from home, or because they do not think that it is a risk.

Support and confidence

A significant majority (84%) think that the Dutch government is doing its best to implement good measures, but confidence in the Dutch response to the coronavirus is declining. Compared to the start of the crisis, fewer people feel that decisions are being explained well (79% in spring, 57% now) and that the Dutch government is using all the available information and considering all interests carefully (previously 73%, now 58%). Also, 55% feel that some measures are illogical or difficult to understand. Note: these survey results are from before the recent press conference.

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) 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 seventh survey of nearly 48,000 people in 30 September - 4 October and compared to results from the previous surveys. These insights help the government to provide better support and information to citizens.