How does the CoronaMelder app work in practice?
The Vliet family
A family in Dordrecht: ‘Thanks to the CoronaMelder app, we did not infect others’
One Friday evening, Dordrecht resident Len Vliet unexpectedly got a notification from his CoronaMelder app. He had been near someone who had later tested positive for the coronavirus. It turned out that he, his wife Renate and their two sons were all infected. Renate: ‘Len and I were quite ill with the coronavirus.’
The CoronaMelder app warns app users who have spent a prolonged period of time near someone who later tested positive for the coronavirus. More than 4.6 million people have downloaded the app since its launch, and more than 130,000 people have used the app to report that they were infected. Len was among those who downloaded the app: ‘Renate and I installed the CoronaMelder app on our mobile phones in the autumn. I never expected to get a notification, but when I did, we immediately decided we should quarantine the whole family! Strictly speaking, I was the only one who was supposed to go into quarantine, but we decided to play it safe.’
No symptoms? Take a test anyway
When you download the CoronaMelder app, like Renate and Len did, you do not have to enter any personal details. The app does not know your name, your email address, or your phone number. The CoronaMelder app does not use location data (GPS) either. The app does not know who you are or where you are. If you get a notification, the app will give you advice about going into quarantine and about getting tested – even if you have no symptoms. This is because you can spread the coronavirus without having any symptoms yourself. Len: ‘When I went to take a test, I had no symptoms at all. Still, when I looked up the result on coronatest.nl in the evening, it turned out to be positive. I immediately self-isolated. It is not easy having to stay completely apart from your family. During dinner, I would make video calls from the bedroom with my wife and sons who were eating downstairs.’
Advice from the GGD
The Vliet family got advice from the GGD over the phone. Renate: ‘Len got his own room and toilet and was always the last to take a shower. We were also told not to use each other’s towels at any cost. Despite all that, I developed vague symptoms a few days later, like headaches. Because you are sharing a house with someone who has the coronavirus, you are extra alert. That is why I got tested immediately. That evening, I found out that I also had the coronavirus, so I was also advised to self-isolate. As we could not leave our sons to their own devices, Len came out of strict isolation. Naturally, he still stayed at home. We told our sons that it was likely that they were infected, too. They took a test over the weekend and also tested positive.’
Impact on the family
Renate and Len were quite ill with the coronavirus. In fact, Renate was so poorly that she was housebound for a few weeks. By contrast, their sons were not really ill at all. Len: ‘The youngest felt sick for a day or so. The eldest had no symptoms whatsoever. They had to stay indoors, of course – the PlayStation saw plenty of use! As for their schoolwork, they followed classes online. They were pleased when they were allowed out again.’
The CoronaMelder app is useful
Thanks to the CoronaMelder app notification, the Vliet family did not unknowingly spread the coronavirus to people around them. Without the notification, Len would have gone to his job at a care facility and Renate to the primary school where she is headmistress. Renate: ‘It is comforting to know that we did not spread the coronavirus. That is why I will keep the app on my mobile for the time being. I am happy to do my part in the fight against the coronavirus.’
This is how you download CoronaMelder
Do you want to install the CoronaMelder app on your mobile phone, like Len and Renate did? Go to the App Store or the Google Play Store to download the app. You can have the app installed on your mobile phone within a minute. Using the CoronaMelder app is always voluntary.