After returning to the Netherlands, a large part of the travellers simply go outside, while they have to stay in quarantine. This is evidenced by an annex to a letter sent to the House of Representatives, Minister De Jonge van Health, in response to questions about the planned quarantine obligation.
The RIVMs conduct unit found that 1265 of the respondents had been abroad in their six-week survey of compliance with coronavirus rules. About 500 of them did not have to be quarantined because, for example, they work across the border or go to school. Of the 728 travelers who should have been quarantined, only 155 kept it completely.
As the most common reason to go outside, respondents called “shopping” (69 percent). 57 percent went out for fresh air, 31 percent to work and 18 percent to walk the dog. Respondents were able to give multiple answers.
Previous investigation by the RIVM already showed that compliance with the quarantine rules after a trip was poor. The Cabinet hoped to increase compliance with a campaign and quarantine coaches.
At the moment, the urgent advice is to stay at home for at least five days after returning from most countries. If you get tested after five days and the results are negative, you can stop the quarantine. If you dont get tested, youll have to stay home for ten days. The Cabinet has submitted a bill to oblige the quarantine. The House of First Chamber will vote on it on 18 May.
The list of countries subject to the quarantine obligation is expected to be considerably smaller than those currently subject to the quarantine opinion. At the moment, there are only a handful of safe countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Singapore where quarantine after return is not necessary according to the Cabinet. When the duty comes into effect, quarantine is only necessary when returning from so-called high-risk area.
A country is a highly risk area if there are more than 500 infections per 100,000 inhabitants per 14 days, if there is a dangerous virus variant or if there is “insufficient surveillance”. According to the Cabinet, most EU countries will no longer be covered when the law comes into force.
Travellers from the highly risk area must fill in addition to a negative corontest and also a quarantine declaration. These should include travel and contact details so that a ministry team can contact random to verify compliance with the quarantine obligation. If there is a suspicion that the quarantine rules are being violated, it is up to local authorities to check that. If you violate the rules, you can get a fine of 339 euros.
Sound of a lawnmower
The House of Representatives was critical of the enforceability of a quarantine obligation. It is not possible to call everyone back and also by calling is not sure if someone is really at home. SGP MP Bishop said: “Call teams are coming and they need to be trained first to distinguish the sound of a lawn mower from the sound of a train or a washing machine.” Also there is no penalty on not being reached by phone. And if someone else opens the door other than the person who should be in quarantine, he is not obliged to cooperate, D66-MP Paternotte outlined.
In his letter to the Chamber, demissionary minister De Jonge responds to some of the questions raised by Members of Parliament. For example, he expects that the number of travellers subject to quarantine will decrease sharply, as fewer and fewer countries will form a highly risk area as a result of vaccinations, among other things.
De Jonge sketches a scenario that, when the law comes into force, only 5 percent of the 250,000 travellers who now come to the Netherlands on a weekly basis need to be quarantined. Of those 12,500 people, 12 percent will get a call. The capacity of the call team is initially 1500 calls a week.
The quarantine requirement will also apply to asylum seekers from highly high-risk areas. According to De Jonge, the Central Body for Asylum Seekers (COA) is in the process of setting up a facility for quarantine, but it is “a big task” to have it ready on time.