We are learning more and more about the novel coronavirus. On this page, you will find answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ) and everything we know about the novel coronavirus so far.

Frequently asked questions

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.

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 novel coronavirus. 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.
Education is important for the well-being, development and health of children and young people. In addition, children play a limited role in spreading the novel coronavirus. That is why secondary schools can stay open. Advice on this is given in the 'Fully opening secondary school' protocol. (only in Dutch)


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

The novel coronavirus 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 novel coronavirus.

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.


Why are classmates not quarantined if a student tests positive for COVID-19?

Children play a minor role in spreading the virus. 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. There is also an increased number of infections in teens and young adults. However, 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. Therefore, classmates do not have to be quarantined, but if a child has intensive contact with friends or classmates outside of school, they do need to be quarantined. If a student tests positive for COVID-19, the Municipal Public Health Service (GGD) analyses which 'out-of-school' contacts need to be quarantined.


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

Stay home if you have cold 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).

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


When am I contagious if I have the novel coronavirus?

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


When can I get tested for the coronavirus?

You can get tested if you have symptoms that could indicate COVID-19.  If you have these symptoms, make an appointment and get tested.

Read more about Testing for COVID-19


What are the risk groups?

People who are over 70 years old and adults (over 18 years old) with a number of specific underlying health conditions. That includes chronic respiratory or pulmonary problems, chronic health problems, or kidney disease.

Read more about Risk groups and COVID-19


Are pregnant women more likely to become infected with the novel coronavirus? 

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

Read more about pregnancy and COVID-19


Why is hygiene so important?

Many people often touch their nose or mouth with their hands, without even noticing. This makes it easy for viruses such as the novel coronavirus to spread. Good hygiene is one of the key recommendations for preventing the spread of the virus.

Read more about Hygiene and COVID-19


What protection is offered by face masks?

Limited scientific evidence is available regarding the effectiveness of non-medical face masks. As of 1 June, the use of a non-medical face mask is required when you travel by public transport, since it is not possible to stay far enough apart in public transport.

Read more about Face masks and gloves


Which animals can become infected?

In the Netherlands, antibodies against the novel coronavirus were detected in one dog. In addition, the virus was found at several mink farms, and in a few cats at these farms. 

Read more about Pets and COVID-19


How does the OMT work?

RIVMNational Institute for Public Health and the Environment can convene the Outbreak Management Team (OMT) in the event of a cross-regional outbreak of infectious disease, or an international threat of infectious disease. Specialists and experts with different backgrounds and knowledge about that specific disease are invited to join the OMT 

Read more about the Outbreak Management Team 


How does the virus (SARS-CoV-2) work?

The novel coronavirus is the virus that can cause the disease known as COVID-19. The virus is spread through human-to-human transmission. 

Read more about Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)


What role does water play in spreading the virus?

Water appears to play a minimal role in the spread of the virus. What does this mean for our drinking water?   And how do we measure the virus in sewage?

Read more about Water and COVID-19


Is there a vaccine?

How many vaccines against COVID-19 are being developed? And how do vaccines work?

Read more about Vaccine against 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