The caretaker cabinet wants to introduce a quarantine obligation for travelers from high-risk areas and people who are infected with the corona virus, Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Minister Hugo de Jonge (Public Health) announced on Wednesday. This will certainly take a few more weeks, given that a change in the law is necessary. Inhabitants who will soon neglect their quarantine obligation risk a fine.
At the end of December, research by the RIVM showed that more than a quarter of the people tested positively go outside. More than half of the people who have a housemate with complaints ignore the advice, as well as 70 percent of the travelers who return from abroad.
According to De Jonge, there is “limited visibility” of travelers returning from risk areas. The minister therefore wants to set up a system in which all these travelers are registered, in order to be able to enforce the quarantine obligation. Initially, the quarantine obligation applies for ten days. The traveler can be tested after the fifth day, quarantine ends if the test result is negative.
It is not clear how De Jonge wants to control the quarantine period of travelers. During the press conference, the minister spoke about “spot checks”.
Scenario 1: Overall quarantine obligation
The cabinet has two scenarios on the table for checking positive test persons. The first scenario is a general quarantine obligation: a central register is set up in which every positive test is recorded. People who have tested positive will receive a random call. If someone turns out to be unreachable, the mayor of his municipality is alerted.
He can then decide to send a supervisor to the home of the resident who has tested positive. Persons who fail to comply with their quarantine obligation risk a fine. If they also violate other corona measures, such as inviting groups of people, a higher sanction may be appropriate, says De Jonge.
Scenario 2: Individual quarantine obligation
The cabinet is also keeping a second, individual quarantine obligation. The scenario has the same effect as the possible general quarantine obligation. In this scenario, however, municipal authorities only impose an official quarantine obligation on residents if they prove to be unreachable during their quarantine period.
If they subsequently fail to comply with the quarantine obligation a second time, they may be fined. In principle, in the second scenario, residents first receive a warning before issuing a fine.
But which scenario is preferred? De Jonge said during the press conference that a general quarantine obligation can harm the willingness to test, so that he would rather introduce an individual quarantine obligation. A large part of the inhabitants would already go into quarantine voluntarily.