Mandatory quarantine for people who had close contact with coronavirus patient

There will be a mandatory quarantine for people who seem to be possibly infected with coronavirus based on a source and contact investigation, the Minister for Health, Hugo de Jonge, has announced to parliament. 

This rule will apply to people who may not have (yet) tested positive for coronavirus, but who have had close contact with someone who is confirmed to have the virus. This new rule has arisen because people are not cooperating with source and contact investigations by the GGD.

At the moment, people who have had close contact with a coronavirus patient are only urgently requested (but not required) to quarantine. Currently, the quarantine period is 14 days, but based on feedback from RIVM Director Jaap van Dissel, that could potentially be shortened soon to 10 days.

The tightening of quarantine rules will hopefully help the Netherlands avoid a second wave, Minister de Jonge says to NOS. “In recent weeks we have heard from the GGDs that people are not cooperating properly with the source and contact investigation. This is our shoring-up strategy to prevent us from having a second wave.”

This rule will come into effect halfway through next week. The regional security councils are pleased with the move. “We asked for it ourselves. We support this,” says Chairman Hubert Bruls of the Security Council. Enforcing the quarantine will fall to the regional security councils, and is already permitted under the Public Health Act.

Quarantine for travellers from code-orange zones and mandatory cooperation with GGD still in the works

Minister de Jonge also hopes to make quarantine mandatory for travellers returning from a code-orange travel zone. However, this particular mandatory quarantine would require a legislative amendment, so we probably won’t see this happening next week.

De Jonge also wants to make it punishable to not cooperate with the GGD’s source and contact investigations. “Cooperation could be enforced by imposing an order subject to penalty. This would not be an alternative to the quarantine measure, but an additional tool to improve cooperation in both source and contact investigation and quarantine.” The punishment for not complying still needs to be worked out by the Public Prosecution Service.

There will be a debate in the House of Representatives today on the government’s response to coronavirus. One potential critique will be the question of whether the security councils and police officers really have enough resources to actually enforce a mandatory quarantine.

You can follow DutchReview on Facebook for more updates on coronavirus in the Netherlands.

Feature Image: DutchReview/Canva

Ailish Lalor
Ailish was born in Sydney, Australia, but grew up by a forest in south-east Ireland, which she has attempted to replace with a living room filled with plants in The Hague. Besides catering to her army of pannenkoekenplantjes, Ailish spends her days convincing her friends that all food is better slightly burnt, plotting ways to hang out with dogs and cats, and of course, writing for DutchReview.

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