Cabinet criticized for closing Schiphol coronavirus test center
A majority in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, is flabbergasted and annoyed by Public Health Minister Hugo de Jonge's announcement that the coronavirus test center at Schiphol airport will close.
The Minister announced that the test center, where travelers from coronavirus hotspots can get tested for the virus, was only used to a limited extent, because there is not enough laboratory capacity and test equipment to process all the tests. The test center will close while the results of this experiment are evaluated.
Parliamentarians from both the opposition and the coalition are upset by this plan. "I find this really worrying," Jan Paternotte of coalition party D66 said to newspaper AD. "Five weeks ago, the Minister of Health announced that everyone from a risk area would be tested. And now nobody is tested at all. This requires text and a lot of explanation."
Eppo Bruins of coalition party ChristenUnie agrees. "Because passengers from risk areas are potentially an outbreak."
Opposition party PVV wanted the Schiphol test center to have longer opening hours and use rapid tests. "An unlikely decision by the Minister," parliamentarian Dion Graus said. "He probably thinks nobody can see him as soon as he puts his hands over his eyes."
SP MP Cem Lacin told AD "We are arguing for more testing and containment, the cabinet is allowing the virus to enter the country unhindered. As far as the SP is concerned, the test center at Schiphol remains open and must also be made accessible to airport employees."
50Plus parliamentarian Corrie van Brenk called the closing of the test center "ridiculous". PvdA MP Lilian Ploumen finds it "irresponsible" that the failing test policy is resulting in travelers no longer being tested."
GroenLinks MP Suzanne Kroger told the newspaper she is particularly disappointed that this testing is stopped while flights from coronavirus hotspots continue as usual. "Where are the government's plans to tackle the risks of getting corona while traveling?"