We have learned much about the novel coronavirus since it first emerged in December 2019 in China. On this page, you will find in-depth information about the disease COVID-19 and specific related topics and answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ).

How to prevent the novel coronavirus from spreading

  • If you have symptoms, stay at home, get tested, recuperate
  • Wash your hands often with soap
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow
  • Use paper tissues to blow your nose and discard them after use.
  • Do not shake hands
  • Stay 1.5 metres (2 arm lengths) apart from others
  • Avoid busy places and keep your distance
  • Work from home as much as possible

Thanks to people complying with the coronavirus measures, the situation in the Netherlands has improved since March. To ensure that the novel coronavirus stays under control it is essential we all follow the basic rules that apply to everyone. See Dutch measures against coronavirus: basic rules for everyone

Frequently asked questions

When do I have to stay at home?

Stay at home if you have cold symptoms, such as a nasal cold, runny nose, sneezing, sore throat. You should also stay home with a mild cough, an elevated temperature/fever or sudden loss of sense of smell or taste. Read more about Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).


How is the travel advisory determined for countries or regions where the novel coronavirus has been detected?

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MinBuZa) issues travel advisories for countries in the following colours: green, yellow, orange and red. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is advised on this matter by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS) and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVMNational Institute for Public Health and the Environment ). In countries where the coronavirus is active, this advice is determined in part by the number of new confirmed cases in the past two weeks and the number of tests performed per day.

If a country is not performing many tests, or if there are media reports of outbreaks in the country, other factors that could affect the risk will also be considered. For example: international reports of outbreaks, an increasing or decreasing number of infections, regional differences in the available figures, etc. The Ministry also looks at whether there is information available about the measures in force in a country and the extent of proper compliance with the measures. Not all available information is reliable or useful for an accurate assessment of the situation in a country. In some cases, additional information is requested, e.g. through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or from public health authorities in a country. The advice provided to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs takes all available information into consideration. The definitive travel advisory is provided online at thenetherlandsworldwide.nl.
For more information about travel and holidays: go to government.nl.


My child has persistent cold symptoms / hay fever. Should he or she stay at home?

If your child has hay fever or a chronic cold every year, you will recognise the symptoms.  In that case, the child may go to school as usual. If you are uncertain whether the symptoms are different than usual, keep your child at home until the (new) symptoms go away.  Read more about Children and COVID-19


When are you contagious if you have the novel coronavirus?

You may already be contagious before you start showing symptoms. For example, 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 Spread and COVID-19


When can someone be tested for COVID-19?

If you have symptoms that could indicate COVID-19, you can 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 underlying health conditions. For example chronic respiratory of pulmonary problems, chronic heart patients of a kidney disease. Read more about Risk groups and COVID-19


Are there extra risks when you are pregnant?

Based on the current knowledge, the course of the disease in pregnant women appears to be the same as in women who are not pregnant. There is no extra reason for concern. Read more about pregnancy and COVID-19


Why is hygiene so important?

Viruses such as the novel coronavirus can be spread by hand contact. Many people often touch their nose or mouth with their hands, without even noticing. One important way to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus is to follow the hygiene guidelines.  Read more about Hygiene and COVID-19


Do face masks offer protection?

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. It should be noted that limited scientific evidence is available regarding how effective these face masks are. Read more about Face masks and gloves


Which animals can get infected?

Antibodies against the novel coronavirus have been detected in one dog in the Netherlands. The novel coronavirus has been detected at several mink farms and in some cats at these farms. Read more about Pets and COVID-19


What does the Outbreak Management Team do?

RIVM  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 the spread of the virus?

Water appears to play a minimal role in the spread of the virus. What does this mean for our drinking water? And can we still go swimming this summer? Read more about Water 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.