Is testing at Schiphol mandatory? Five questions about the new test street

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What exactly is this test street at Schiphol?

From today, there will be a test street of GGD Kennemerland in arrival hall 3, intended for travelers from high-risk countries. The government wants everyone arriving from countries with the color code red or orange to be tested, including people without complaints. This is free for travelers because the government reimburses it.

An average of 5000 people arrive at Schiphol every day from a high-risk area with the Netherlands as their final destination, at Eindhoven Airport and Rotterdam / The Hague Airport there are just under 1000. The intention is that the other Dutch international airports will soon have a similar test street.

What does it look like when you arrive at Schiphol?

At Schiphol, travelers from high-risk areas are welcomed by GGD employees and asked to be tested. When the test street at Schiphol is full, travelers can register on site to have themselves tested in their own region.

“It actually looks a bit like a regular test street”, says a spokesman for the GGD. “You are taken care of, administration is done and a swap is taken.” You will receive the results within 48 hours. “The protocol is the same as with a regular test street. The only difference is that this is also intended for people who have no complaints.”

Is testing mandatory?

This testing is not mandatory, according to the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS) this is legally not possible. It may soon be mandatory to go into quarantine for fourteen days if you come from a high-risk country, even if your test is negative. According to the ministry, a test is not a reason not to go into home quarantine, the testing is mainly intended to keep an eye on the infections.

Is the Netherlands stricter or less strict with this than other countries?

That of course differs per country. Each country chooses which countries it classifies as high-risk countries and how to deal with them. Germany has recently opted to have all travelers from high-risk countries tested compulsorily. For the time being, this does not apply to Dutch people who travel via Germany, but it may come if the number of infections here increases.

Other countries require a negative corona test that is taken up to 72 hours before the trip. This is necessary, for example, if you want to go to Aruba, Bonaire, CuraƧao, St. Maarten, Cyprus and (from 17 August) Greece from the Netherlands.

Other countries have been testing travelers for some time, why not us?

Home quarantine has always been the most important means of ensuring that the coronavirus does not enter from high-risk countries. For a long time it was an urgent advice, it may even become mandatory soon.

According to a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, the testing is not a substitute for that quarantine. It is primarily a way to keep an eye on the virus, but not the main means of keeping it out. That remains the home quarantine.

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