There are roughly three ways a country can respond to the coronavirus, in his address to the nation on television Prime minister Mark Rutte spoke of the ‘three scenarios’.

In the first scenario the virus is allowed to run its course unchecked, however, in that case the Dutch health system will not have the capacity to help everyone.

In the second scenario there is a maximum containment of the virus, also known as a lockdown. The Dutch government has not opted for this scenario based on the reasoning that to be effective a lockdown is not just for a few weeks but for a much longer amount of time, which would have huge consequence for schools, the economy etc. Moreover, it is very likely that the virus would simply start spreading again once the lockdown is over. This risk remains until there is a drug or vaccine for the virus.

Therefore, the Dutch government has opted for the third scenario, namely a maximum control of the virus. This means that wide cooperation and different rules and regulations are used to ensure that people follow the hygiene rules, avoid public venues (such as cafés), and maintain physical distance from each other. Consequently infecting each other less easily and preventing an uncontrolled and quick spreading of the virus.

Three extra reasons or advantages are given by the Dutch government for this approach. First of all, most people will experience only minor symptoms and recover from the virus without medical assistance. Secondly, most people will build immunity, so the virus has less and less chance to make other people sick. And finally, the hospitals, nursing homes and home care services are not overwhelmed, so there is always enough capacity in the healthcare system.

For more information, see: RIVM

For an overview of the measures taken by the government and what this practically means for you, see:

For frequently asked questions about the approach to tackling coronavirus in the Netherlands, see: