Corona virus outbreak – FAQs

For easier understanding of the guidelines prevalent in Netherlands for you all, we have tried to consolidate the key FAQs in this post.

Take informed decisions. Stay healthy, stay safe!

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.

How does COVID-19 spread?

People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick.

How can we slow down this outbreak?

  • Stay At Home – Limit contact with others.
  • Prepare Your Household – Buy food and trim unnecessary expenses.
  • Never go out if sick.
  • Practice excellent personal hygiene. Don’t touch your face, wash your hands, stay 2 meters away from others.
  • Help others in your neighborhood and community.
  • Take vitamine C + D3 to boost health. Get good rest.

Can COVID-19 be caught from a person who has no symptoms?

The main way the disease spreads is through respiratory droplets expelled by someone who is coughing. The risk of catching COVID-19 from someone with no symptoms at all is very low. However, many people with COVID-19 experience only mild symptoms. This is particularly true at the early stages of the disease. It is therefore possible to catch COVID-19 from someone who has, for example, just a mild cough and does not feel ill.

I’m sick. Could it be because of new coronavirus?

  • Do you have a cold or fever upto 38.0 degree Celsius?
    – Stay home and make sure you don’t infect others. So keep your distance from other people. You don’t have to call the doctor . Your complaints are mild.
  • Are your complaints getting worse ?
    You have a fever (over 38 degrees Celsius) and you cough or breathe hard?
    – Then you must call your GP.

Are all offices in Netherlands closed because of COVID-19?

There are no specific mandatory obligations for employers in respect of COVID-19. Some organizations have asked their employees to work from home. There are specific guidelines circulated from individual organizations on the business continuity during this period.

My short-stay visa is expiring before 6 April. What should I do?

Those who are staying in the Netherlands on a short-stay visa and cannot leave the country can apply for an extension over the phone with IND. It is not necessary to have a sticker placed in your passport. The extension is only valid in the Netherlands and will be registered in the European Visa Information System (VIS).
You can keep the right of residence in the Netherlands even without a new residence document or sticker.
This situation is applicable till 6 April 2020, unless otherwise notified.

Can I travel to India from Netherlands during this outbreak?

  • Compulsory quarantine is extended for a minimum period of 14 days for passengers coming from/transiting through UAE, Qatar, Oman, and Kuwait. This will come into effect from 1200 GMT on 18th March 2020 at the port of first departure.
  • Travel of passengers from the European Union countries (which includes Netherlands), Turkey and UK to India is prohibited with effect from 18th March 2020. No airline shall board a passenger from these nations to India with effect from 1200 GMT on 18th March 2020. The airline shall enforce this at the port of initial departure.
  • Both these instructions are temporary measures and shall be in force till 31st March 2020 and will be reviewed subsequently.

More information:

Do I need to stock up regular supplies?

No, you don’t have to. The supermarkets are open, and will remain open, and they have enough stock supplies. There has been some panic shopping happening recently, where people are emptying the shelves of the superstores like Albert Heign, Jumbo, Lidl, Deen, Aldi, etc. The superstores are trying their best to get everything back on stock.

Is Netherlands under a lockdown?

All schools and daycare centres in the Netherlands are to be shut from Monday until at least 6 April 2020 in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus, ministers decided on Sunday after a crisis meeting with health experts and education officials. In addition, cafes, restaurants, sex clubs, cannabis cafes, saunas and sports clubs will remain closed.

There are certain additional rules and guidelines released in a press conference on 23 March 2020.

  • Gathering with more than 3 people is not allowed until 1 June 2020.
  • Mayors have, with immediate effect, the authority to close down certain places, such as beaches, parks, boulevards, shops, food markets etc, when people don’t adhere to these guidelines.
  • Shops have to take measures to assure people are able to respect the 1.5 meter minimal distance.
  • The decision on whether or not keeping schools, cafes and restaurants should remain closed will be taken on or around April 6, as planned. The closure is now applied to hairdressers and nail studios.
  • People that breach these rules can be fined: up to EUR 400 for individuals, and up to EUR 4000 for businesses and shops.
  • Advised is not having more than three guests in one’s house.
  • When someone has fever, the complete family will have to stay at home.
  • Capacity in the hospitals and ICUs will be increased.

More information:

What was the outcome of the crisis meeting held on 12-March-2020?

As you know, Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte held a crisis meeting yesterday (12-March-2020), followed by a press conference and a debate in Tweede Kamer. Hereby the summarised guidelines released by Netherlands Government.

  • Work from home if possible & no meetings with 100+ people.
  • If you have symptoms you need to stay home until they are over.
  • All events/concerts/gatherings etc. of 100+ people are cancelled in NL.
  • Avoid visiting elderly/vulnerable people as much as possible.
  • Elderly/vulnerable people should avoid social gatherings & public transport as much as possible.
  • Medical specialists are not allowed to travel abroad.
  • Universities should give online lectures.
  • All other types of schools (primary/highschool/daycare ) remain open due to low risk in the young age group and pressure on working parents.
  • All these precautions are applicable at least until 31-March-2020.

What are relevant pointers from Prime Minister Rutte’s speech on 16-March-2020?

  • There is no easy way out of this situation, the reality is many people will become infected in the near future.
  • It can take months to build group immunity. Until then, we must do everything we can to protect the most vulnerable people.
  • The government chooses to control the virus as much as possible and to level off the peak in its spread. With this approach, we ensure that care can continue to cope.
  • A complete lockdown would not yet give any certainty. As long as there is no vaccine, the virus will continue to spread around the world like a wave. That is why the cabinet has not opted for a lockdown.
  • He ended with a call: “We have to do it with 17 million people. Together with 17 million people, we will overcome this.”

More information:

I am worried about financial loss. What financial support I can avail for this crisis?

  • Shortening of working hours: The government will pay for 90 per cent of the salary.
  • Freelancers can ask for additional life support.
  • In consultation with local municipalities, tourist taxes temporarily won’t be raised.
  • Businesses won’t have to pay their taxes in the upcoming three months.
  • A suspension payment period of half a year for loans for small entrepreneurs.
  • Emergency fund. Those who have been hit the hardest can instantly receive 4000 euros.

See the below post about the press conference for a more elaborate summary.

If you have a mortgage with ABN Amro, and you are unable to pay the monthly payment due to this crisis situation, you will be able to request for 3 months extension of payment. This facility will be launched soon.