SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Support for the cabinet’s coronavirus policy is waning according to the most recent results of ongoing research among 51,000 people by health institute RIVM and the GGD health boards.
In November two out of three people supported the way the government had been tackling the crisis, but January’s questionnaire showed that this had fallen to 45%. Only one in five respondents thought the Netherlands was doing well compared to other countries, which is half of what it was in November.
The results are probably affected by the circumstances at that time, research leader Marijn de Bruin told the Volkskrant. The Netherlands was heavily criticised for not starting the vaccine programme until January while all other European countries had started theirs in December.
In addition, 40% of respondents are neutral about the government’s policy, she said. Some 55% of respondents also expressed doubt about whether or not the cabinet had made evenhanded and logical choices and criticised the way measures were communicated to the public.
According to health communication professor Bas van den Putte, the fact that the cabinet is now considering a curfew shows the failure of its communication policy. ‘The cabinet has not succeeded in intrinsically motivating people to keep to the rules, and now it needs to be enforced,’ he said.
However, two thirds of the respondents said they are keeping to measures such as not shaking hands and social distancing and over half do not frequent busy places. Double the number of people with symptoms went for tests compared to the summer figures and people with symptoms stayed home more often.
‘It looks as if people are becoming more careful,’ Bruins said. But Van den Putte said even if 80% of people kept to the rules, that still left 20% who don’t. ‘That’s three million people who can infect each other,’ he said.
‘And the rest don’t always abide by the rules. Just go to any supermarket and try to keep a distance of 1.5 metres.’ De Bruin said that coronamoeheid (being tired of corona measures) is not evident from the figures but that loneliness and depression have increased.