A few weeks ago, the Dutch government announced plans to introduce a mandatory 10-day quarantine for all travellers arriving in the Netherlands. Now, members of the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer) are saying that anyone who has already been vaccinated against coronavirus shouldn’t have to quarantine after travelling abroad.
Should vaccinated people also have to quarantine in the Netherlands?
Members of the Labour Party (PvdA) and D66 have agreed that it would be unnecessary to expect someone who has been vaccinated to quarantine for at least five days. “Let’s follow countries like Ireland, Greece, Denmark, Spain, the US and the UK,” says Jan Paternotte (D66). “They all already have some form of exception for people who have had an injection.”
But Health Minister Hugo de Jonge has said it is “perfectly logical,” arguing that he would like to know more about whether or not vaccinated people can spread the virus before making a final decision on the matter. “There will come a time when we medically establish that vaccinees play a smaller role in the spread, I hope. But we are not that far forward yet.” The Health Council of the Netherlands is expected to issue their advice on the matter by June 1.
The Dutch government is already trialling their own digital coronavirus passport – the CoronaCheck app – while the EU is working towards establishing their EU COVID-19 certificate, which should be launched by the end of June.
Health Minister De Jonge defends mandatory quarantine rule
De Jonge was forced to defend his quarantine rule this week, and while many MPs had questions regarding the enforcement of the rule, the majority were supportive of De Jonge’s proposal. He himself acknowledges that the enforcement of a mandatory quarantine is not completely fool-proof, but that it is still a worthwhile measure.
MPs were sceptical that mandatory quarantine could be enforced effectively. According to the government’s plans, anyone who arrives in the Netherlands – whether it be by bus, plane, train, boat, or car – must quarantine for 10 days, but could cut their quarantine short if they test negative for COVID-19 after five days. A team will be set up with the sole responsibility to carry out random checks and call those expected to quarantine. Failing to quarantine will lead to a 339 euro fine.
Peter Kwint from the Socialist Party said this plan was flawed, as it is not mandatory to answer your mobile phone, and there would likely be enough time for someone who isn’t quarantining to rush home, beating the Dutch police to your door. ChristenUnie also voiced concerns, fearing that different municipalities will be more strict at enforcing the rule than others.