Dutch gov't called to stop vacations to Covid hot spots
The government needs to do much more to actively combat travel to areas with a code orange travel warning due to Covid-19 if trips are not absolutely necessary, GroenLinks and SP parliamentarians demanded in a debate. The risk is too great that travelers will bring the coronavirus back with them, especially now that infections are skyrocketing in the Netherlands, they said, ANP reports.
This demand was prompted by budget airline Ryanair offering flight tickets to coronavirus hot spots for as little as 5 euros. On Friday morning, Ryanair was still offering 10 euro tickets from Eindhoven to Dublin, a flight which costs 5 euros more from Amsterdam, and Eindhoven to Vienna for just eight euros. It was offering tickets no more expensive than 27 euros to Code Orange countries like Cyprus, Malta and Spain from the three airports it services in the Netherlands.
Hard agreements must be made with the travel industry, for example on discount tickets, Covid-19 tests for returning travelers, and quarantine after return to the Netherlands, GroenLinks parliamentarian Suzanne Kroger said. She called the Ryanair discount tickets "completely reprehensible", according to the news wire. "Noting it is not enough, this is about how we can stop this."
D66 parliamentarian Jan Paternotte worries that these discounted tickets tempt people to holiday in dangerous areas. He called on Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen of Infrastructure and Water Management to take "moral leadership" and call out airlines who offer such discounts.
The SP wants people who traveled to a risk area to prove that their trip was absolutely necessary, parliamentarian Cem Lacin said. VVD colleague Remco Dijkstra thinks that would be too much of a privacy violation. He also called the discounted tickets "not pretty", but thinks it is up to travelers themselves to take responsibility and avoid risk areas.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued code orange travel warnings for multiple countries and regions due to high numbers of Covid-19 infections in those areas. Code orange means that all but the most necessary trips to an area are strongly discouraged. Travelers coming from a code orange area must quarantine at home for 10 days upon their arrival in the Netherlands, and get tested for Covid-19 if they start showing symptoms.