Saturday 23 January 2021

No forced quarantine for returning holidaymakers, but random tests an option

Immigration control at Schiphol airport. Photo:

The Netherlands will not bring in compulsory quarantine for travellers from countries branded code orange or red, but will increase the pressure on people to stay home voluntarily, health minister Hugo de Jonge said in a briefing to MPs.

Random, voluntary testing of new arrivals at Schiphol or other airports is also an option which is being studied, the minister said.

Government officials are now researching how to register who has arrived from a country with a negative travel recommendation and how checks can be carried out to make sure they are staying home.

Despite calls for quarantine to be set down in law, it is not legally possible for force people to stay home for two weeks, De Jonge told MPs. Instead, De Jonge has urged employers and schools to help people quarantine at home without missing out on lessons or being forced to take unpaid leave.

Popular Dutch holiday destinations such as Croatia, Barcelona and the Antwerp region are now on the ‘no go’ list and ministers are concerned about the risk presented by returning holiday makers. Coronavirus was largely brought to the Netherlands by people who had been on skiing holidays in Italy and Austria.

Meanwhile, Marnix Fruitema from the airline umbrella organisation Barin, has called for compulsory testing of everyone arriving at Schiphol airport.

‘In Italy, France and Germany, you have your temperature taken or have to take a test, but in the Netherlands, with such a big, international airport, we are bottom of the list,’ Fruitema told tv current affairs show EenVandaag.

Fruitema backs the introduction of Europe-wide regulations, so that travelers know where they stand. ‘That would also be good for consumer confidence, which would also be good for the aviation sector.’

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