Chamber puts big question marks in the enforcement of quarantine duty

The House of Representatives raises serious doubts about the enforceability of the quarantine obligation. This is evident in the Chambers debate on the bill that should regulate this obligation.

The government wants to introduce the quarantine obligation on 15 May for all travellers, both Dutch and tourists, who come from highly risk areas via another country or not. These are countries with high levels of infection, new corona variants or an unclear corona situation.

D66-MP Paternotte: โ€œCalls are checked with calls from call teams, but if you are not available, you will not be fined. If someone else opens the door in check, it doesnt have to cooperate. So it is only in the act that there is a chance of a fine, and that chance is not so great.โ€

โ€œ Good news! This law leads to many new jobs,โ€ says SGP MP Bishop jokingly. โ€œCall teams will come up and they must first be trained to distinguish the sound of a lawn mower from the sound of a train or a washing machine.โ€ The party wonders how a call team can distinguish the sound of a blackbird in a private garden or in a park.

Other groups also have doubts as to whether the law is helpful in enforcement. This is while the Cabinet finds that people are already not voluntarily adhering to the quarantine rules.

All travellers from Highly Risk Areas

However, most groups feel that the obligation to quarantine is necessary, although they feel that the Netherlands is very late with this law compared to other European countries. Travellers will probably be able to expect these additional rules from 15 May and a fine of 339 euros for non-compliance.

Passengers to the Netherlands must carry a negative PCR test result that is up to 72 hours old upon arrival. They must also show an antigen fast test of up to 24 hours old when boarding the aircraft or ship.

Those arriving by plane or ship must test them to the carrier and submit a quarantine declaration. For international train and bus transport such as FlixBus, Thalys and Eurostar, carriers check passengers quarantine papers before boarding or during the journey. In the Netherlands, NS-Boas can issue fines.

In the case of road traffic, the police have already indicated that they do not have extra people for the quarantine law. The Cabinet now wants to use the Royal Marechaussee for that.

Call teams shall check, on a random basis, on behalf of the Ministry of VWS, whether passengers registered as having come from a highly risk area are in quarantine.

Fear of randomness

If there is a suspicion that someone does not comply with the rules, then the mayor of the place of residence is responsible for the supervision. Municipal regulators are allowed to fine. The Christian Union is afraid of arbitrary action, because in one region there is better control than the other.

MP Van Houwelingen of the FvD used a comparison with the persecution of Jews to clarify his partys objections to restrictions for citizens. The other parties found this tasteless. Commission President Agema (PVV) distanged the statements.

Several parties also believe that until the effect of the law is clear, the flight bans should not yet be abolished. Thats what the Cabinet wants. And in any case D66, PvdA and BIJ1 believe that in principle vaccinees should not be subject to the quarantine obligation. The VVD has doubts about that.

Later this afternoon, the demissionary ministers De Jonge en Van Nieuwenhuizen will answer all questions from the Chamber.

The debate can be followed live via NPO Politiek.