MPs back testing to attend events, but question need and cost


A majority of MPs have backed the cabinet’s plans to press ahead with a state-funded system of coronavirus tests to allow people to visit museums, cinemas, zoos and amusement parks.

Nevertheless, MPs still have many questions about the need to set up the programme in the first place, the cost and the legislation needed to implement it, broadcaster NOS reported.

The legislation to make the approach possible will last for three months, but health minister Hugo de Jonge has already said this may need to be extended if there is an increase in positive coronavirus tests or if a new mutation hits the Netherlands.

De Jonge also dismissed MPs concerns about the impact of compulsory testing on individual freedom. ‘This is about removing the limitations and getting freedom back,’ the minister said during Thursday evening’s debate on the plans. In addition, the test requirement will only apply to non-essential activities.


MPs too questioned the €1.1bn budget for the programme, which is based on €30 per test. The price has now gone down to €15 to €20, and fewer tests than forecast are likely to be needed, MPs say. A majority also voted against the government’s decision to charge people €7.50 per test from July.

The formal vote on the legislation will take place next week, after which the senate must also give its approval.

The hospitality industry, museums and cinemas have all said they do not see a future in the government’s plans to open up society by using negative coronavirus tests.

They argue that requiring people have a negative test to sit at a pavement café or visit an exhibition is a step too far for many.


Pilot events in April also showed that there is widespread reluctance to have a test before an outing. Some 60,000 of the 200,000 tickets for the ‘test voor toegang’ events went unsold, broadcaster NOS reported at the weekend.

Seven companies, most of which were only set up last year, have won concessions to set up the testing centres needed to implement the ‘test for toegang’ scheme.

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