Compensate quarantined self-employed for lost income, health institute advises

Self-employed persons who have to go into quarantine due to the coroanvirus pandemic, should be compensated for the income they lost while isolating, the behavioral unit of public health institute RIVM recommended in a report on increasing adherence to the coronavirus rules.

A study published by the RIVM on Saturday showed that 60 percent of people who were told to quarantine at home in the past six weeks, still went outside at least once. Only half of the people contacted by the health authorities and informed they were in contact with a Covid-19 patient, stayed home the full 10 days of quarantine. Of travelers who returned from a coronavirus hot spot, 70 percent did not quarantine for the 10 day period. And even 20 percent of people who tested positive for Covid-19 did not stay home.

But the researchers found that this is not because people don’t care about the Covid-19 measures, or don’t want to follow them. “The vast majority of people take the measures seriously. And 90 to 95 percent say they absolutely don’t want to infect someone. The people we surveyed often said: I really had to do something outside, but I did it at a quiet time, and I made sure to keep my distance. Considerations which are easy to understand,” RIVM behavioral scientist Marijn de Bruin said to the Volkskrant.

The behavioral unit therefore recommended that the government take measures to reward following the rules, like compensating self-employed persons for the income they lost while adhering to quarantine advice. “If you can do that with rewards, I think that’s a good thing. Punishment is difficult at the moment: people who have symptoms and have not yet been tested must already be in isolation at this point and you do not know who they are,” Bas den Putte, member of the behavioral unit and professor of health and communication at the University of Amsterdam, said to BNR.

He couldn’t tell the broadcaster how likely it is that the government will follow this advice. “But if you close industries to prevent corona, I think the only logical thing is to also help self-employed people who help to prevent the spread of corona. We are still in one of the biggest crises since the Second World War.”