Quarantine duty not watertight, but useful says Minister De Jonge

The Cabinet recognizes that a statutory quarantine obligation is not a watertight system, but nevertheless considers it a means that can be useful and must be laid down. Minister De Jonge: โ€œThe harder you want to maintain, the more unDutch it becomes. Taiwan, for example, is much stricter but I think no one would want to trade with that.โ€

The minister defended his bill against a very critical Lower House. Despite all the comments, a majority seems to be in favour of the law.

Passengers coming from Highly Risk Areas 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.

If you enter the Netherlands by air or ship, you must test them and submit a quarantine declaration to the carrier. 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.

Enforcement

The Chamber also has many questions about enforcement by calling teams, who receive the quarantine declarations. They are going to try random over the phone to check if someone is indeed home.

The Young has faith in that. โ€œWith ten people, you can make three hundred calls a day. And if you hear cash register sounds in the background, of course, you know that someone is not home.โ€ If there is a suspicion that a person does not comply with the obligation, the person’s living quarters will be warned. Municipal regulators are allowed to pay a fine. It amounts to 339 euros.

โ€œ The ability to walk into the lamp is going to help. People also stop at night for a red traffic light, because that‘s just the norm,โ€ says De Jonge.

Several MPs remain skeptical. There’s no obligation to answer your phone. And there is often enough time for someone who does not like to drive home quickly before the enforcer is at the door, concludes SP MP Kwint.

Flight zone continues to exist

De Jonge assured the Chamber that in exceptional cases the no-fly zone continues to exist alongside the quarantine obligation. De Jonge: โ€œBut the no-fly zone is a rude and generic measure, the quarantine obligation is more effective and precise.โ€ However, he admits that a no-fly zone is easier to maintain.

The Cabinet does not expect that, when the quarantine obligation comes into effect, many European countries will still be classified as ‘high risk’. The legal obligation shall apply at the earliest from 18 May, the day the House votes on it. The quarantine obligation applies exceptions to certain groups living, working and studying at the border.

For freelancers and flexworkers, there is no compensation scheme if they have to quarantine for a maximum of ten days, even if they lose income as a result. For employees, the Cabinet expects the employer to continue paying the wages.

The roommates of a quarantine agent do not have to be quarantined. That is only the case if the traveler has health complaints. Then the current urgent quarantine advice applies.

De Jonge does not want to make an exception for the quarantine obligation for people who have been vaccinated. He says there‘s still insufficient scientific evidence that these people don’t spread a virus. He hopes to know more about this in June.