Just five coronavirus fines issued to drivers at Dutch border

Photo: Odi Busman
Photo: Odi Busman

Border officials have handed out just five fines to motorists for not complying with coronavirus travel restrictions when entering the Netherlands from Belgium or Germany.

Under rules which came into force on August 8, travellers from ‘yellow risk’ countries must carry proof of vaccination, recovery from infection or a negative test result. Those who fail to provide the paperwork face a €95 fine.

The border control force (Marechaussee) carried out 156 spot checks in the last three weeks of August, stopping 433 vehicles, but only five travellers were found to be breaching the rules.

However, the rules proved difficult to enforce, not least because they only apply to people who cross the border for longer than 12 hours. There are no restrictions on travellers form Germany itself, which is code green on the Dutch risk scale, but they still apply to people coming from countries such as Italy or Austria.

The public health ministry said the low numbers were proof that people were complying with the rules, but virologist Bart Niesters, of Groningen’s UMC hospital, said they were ineffective.

He told radio station BNR: ‘We have thousands of people coming back from holiday, especially at the weekend. It’s absolutely pointless. Five fines in that time is nothing. It won’t even cover the Marechaussee’s petrol bill.’

Niesters said it was more important to ensure people tested themselves a few days after returning from a foreign trip so that infections picked up abroad were detected.

A spokesman for the ministry said: ‘Most people understand very well the purpose of carrying evidence of recovery, vaccination or a test. It’s about a reasonable chance of being caught and the preventive effect that the checks have.’

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