Prime minister Mark Rutte has urged people going abroad this summer to test themselves for coronavirus on their return, even if they have been vaccinated.
Rutte said testing would play a ‘crucial’ role in keeping infections down going into the autumn. He also said there were no plans to bring in more restrictions now infections were falling after the spike in early July.
The government is sending letters out to eight million households this month that will allow them to claim two free self-testing kits, but Rutte said it was part of an ‘awareness campaign’ and not a move to compulsory mass testing.
‘It’s not our intention to spread out self-tests across the Netherlands. It’s your responsibility as an individual to take them,’ he said.
Tests will also be handed out at Schiphol airport, to students and via foodbanks and other facilities for people on low incomes.
‘If we want to keep the situation as it is, testing and self-testing are vital,’ Rutte said. ‘Even if you’ve been vaccinated, you can still catch the virus and infect others.’
People who go away to ‘yellow’ countries in the EU, where infection levels are still relatively high, must show either proof of vaccination or recovery or a negative coronavirus test before they travel home.
Anyone who is not vaccinated is urged to take a self-test or book a PCR test with their local health service (GGD) on day two and day five after returning.
Stricter rules apply to non-EU countries, including the UK, where testing before travel and quarantine are compulsory if there is a high number of infections.
‘We see the number of infections has gone down and the number of hospital admissions is no longer rising,’ Rutte said. ‘That means there is no reason at the moment to take extra measures.
‘We have also asked the Outbreak Management Team to advise us on the situation after Saturday and we will give a press conference at 7pm on Friday.’
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