Senate clears way for compulsory quarantine, testing ahead of big events
The upper house of parliament has voted in favour of temporary legislation to bring in mandatory quarantine for visitors from high risk areas, and to pave the way for fast coronavirus testing ahead of big events.
The lower house voted in favour of the legislation in mid May. Ministers have not yet said when the new laws will come into force.
Opposition party GroenLinks was instrumental in getting the legislation through the senate, where the outgoing coalition does not have a majority. The party has also asked health minister Hugo de Jonge to look into allowing self tests as evidence in areas without a fast test centre.
The aim of the test legislation is to enable certain types of event – such as festivals – to take place more quickly than the government’s five step plan would otherwise allow.
The quarantine legislation requires travellers from countries with a very high risk of coronavirus, or with new variants, to quarantine for up to 10 days. Travellers will be able to take a coronavirus test on the fifth day, and if negative, they can then move freely.
The health and foreign ministries will decide what countries should be covered. The introduction of compulsory quarantine means the ban on flights from certain countries can then be lifted.
People who fail to quarantine can be fined €435 – and ministers say this is sufficiently high to act as a deterrent.
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