Travelers from risk areas will be asked to be tested from Thursday

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The test street at Schiphol will be open from Thursday around 10 a.m. Travelers from risk areas are then checked for possible infections with the corona virus.

The measure was announced last week, during a press conference of Corona Minister De Jonge and Prime Minister Rutte.

“We want to make sure they don’t come back with the virus in the suitcase,” said De Jonge. ‘At the gate, travelers are therefore requested to be tested, even if they have no complaints.’

A COVID-19 test street will therefore be set up between arrivals halls 3 and 4.

No obligation

It is important to mention that it is not possible to really require people to take a test, based on current legislation.

In addition, the corona test is a snapshot. Travelers are therefore requested to quarantine, even if the test gives a negative result.

Quarantine

But quarantine is also not mandatory so far. It is still an ‘urgent advice’. Although Minister De Jonge wants to change this as soon as possible.

He has therefore announced in the Lower House that all travelers from ‘orange areas’ will soon have to stay at home for two weeks. To make this possible, a legislative amendment still needs to be implemented.

Orange areas

But which areas are exactly ‘orange’? This concerns risk areas, where an orange travel advice applies. It is not recommended to go there on vacation.

Anyone who travels to such a destination will then be requested – and possibly obliged – to go into quarantine.

For example, orange travel advice still applies in both Turkey and Morocco:

AT5

Opinion reversed by outbreaks

Travel advice has already been relaxed for a large number of European countries, from orange to yellow. Then holiday trips are in principle possible, although risks remain.

Most borders were therefore opened again on 15 June. But due to a few (local) outbreaks, the travel advice for some countries and regions has already been reversed.

For those who have lost track of the track: the Travel app of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs can keep track of exactly whether an area is ‘orange’ or ‘yellow’.

Entry-screenings

Because the orange advice now applies again in more countries, the cabinet has decided to have travelers from risk areas tested for corona after all. First at Schiphol, later also at other airports.

At first, these travelers were only checked via a so-called ‘entry screening’. This meant that they had to show their health certificates upon arrival at Schiphol.

Although that did not happen in all cases. In total, about 50 percent of the passengers who flew at Schiphol received such a screening, a spokesman for the Kennemerland Safety Region said earlier.

‘More and more full holiday flights’

Initially that percentage was perhaps a bit higher. At the time, not many planes arrived at Schiphol, which made it easier to screen a large number of travelers. “But now we see more full holiday flights,” said the spokesman.

Photo: AT5 / Laurens Niezen – A few months ago Schiphol was almost deserted, AT5 / Laurens Niezen

Nevertheless, it was not possible to increase the number of screenings. The GGD would already be at ‘maximum capacity’. “We don’t have thousands of people who can perform the screenings,” said the spokesman.

The question is therefore whether it will be possible to perform a corona test on every traveler.

Infected passengers

Yet such a test seems to be important. After an initial evaluation it became clear in the end an infected passenger had traveled to Schiphol on 38 flights.

It is unclear how many flights an infected passenger has traveled on. The Safety Region does not currently have an up-to-date overview of this. But it does go wrong sometimes.

Source and contact research

Suppose a traveler is indeed infected. What happens then? In principle, a source and contact investigation follows. A person’s flight history is also mapped.

That way, other passengers can be warned. They are not required to be quarantined at this time. But Minister De Jonge wants to change that too.

Punishment

People who have come into contact with a corona patient will soon have to be quarantined. This rule will probably take effect halfway through next week.

However, it is unclear what punishment someone will be given if the rule is violated. The Public Prosecution Service is still investigating that.

The judge ultimately decides on a case-by-case basis which punishment will actually be imposed.

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