Friday 14 May 2021

Shopping, work and walking the dog: over 75% don’t quarantine after travel

Just 155 of 728 travellers questioned by the public health institute RIVM followed the quarantine rules on their return to the Netherlands from a high risk country, health minister Hugo de Jonge told MPs on Tuesday.

The RIVM’s behavioural unit carries out regular research into attitudes to coronavirus and on how well the rules are obeyed. This survey involved over 47,000 people.

Quarantine is not yet enforceable by law, but people who have been in a high risk country are supposed to self isolate for 10 days on their return, or five days if they have a negative coronavirus test five days after they get back.

Reasons given by people in the survey for not complying with the quarantine arrangements vary from ‘getting some fresh air’ and ‘walking the dog’ to the need to go shopping – which was cited by seven in 10 respondents.  Three in 10 left home to work.

Senators are due to vote on May 18 on legislation which will make quarantine compulsory. Just a handful of countries, including Australia, New Zeeland and Singapore do not feature on the Dutch high risk list.

MPs have criticized the quarantine legislation, particularly the enforcement which will be done on the basis of telephone checks. People who break the rules face a fine of €339.

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