Dutch public surveyed over relaxing lockdown measures

By Imane Rachidi

The Hague, Apr 30 (efe-epa).- As the Dutch government mulls how to relax its lockdown, it has turned to citizens to find out what they think would be the correct strategy to adopt.

Residents are being given two choices with the consequences, advantages and disadvantages of each strategy outlined.

The lockdown in The Netherlands has been very different to the Spanish and Italian models characterised by their strict and restrictive nature, and the government has opted for a so-called smart lockdown which puts the onus on the population to behave responsibly.

People in The Netherlands have been allowed to go out on the streets for exercise or to walk while maintaining social distancing and limits on crowds have also been implemented.

As the country now considers lifting the lockdown rules in place, Prime Minister Mark Rutte has launched an online survey, working with researchers from Delft Technical University, the Netherlands Institute for Public Health and the ministries of health and finance, so citizens can vote on their prefered de-escalation strategy.

“The government can use the results of the TU Delft PVE corona exit study for underpinning and communicating their decisions on the next round of relaxing corona measures,” one of the researchers, Anatol Itten, told Efe.

“Because the results not only show the preferences of Dutch people, but also the motivations of these preferences and differences between groups of Dutch people, government decisions can be more nuanced and tailor-made,” he added.

The survey presents different scenarios to choose from, what measures could be eliminated, at what rate and in what way.

The introduction to the questionnaire says “the Government would like a large group of Dutch people to advise it on the advisability of these flexible options” because, although it bases decisions “on expert studies, it takes into account the opinion of society”.

If you opt, for example, to relax the prohibition of visits to nursing homes, the positive effect will be that older people will see a healthy family member, reducing loneliness, but the downside is there will be more pressure on care workers who will have to supervise visits, take care of the elderly if they become infected and potentially face more deaths among older people.

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