Groningen hospital designated to handle forced Covid quarantine
The Ministry of Public Health designated the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) as the location where coronavirus patients who refuse to go into quarantine can be forcibly admitted if they pose a danger to public health, according to a publication in the Government Gazette.
A spokesperson for the Ministry told NOS that this is simply a formality. "This measure already applies to every infectious disease," the spokesperson said. "A hospital is designated for every disease."
Forced quarantine can only be imposed by the head of one of the 25 security regions, based on Article 31 of the Public Health Act. It can also only be imposed if the patient poses a danger to others. This law has been in force since 2008 and was expanded last year to include the coronavirus.
UMCG was designated the coronavirus quarantine hospital, because people can be admitted there in a separate location of the hospital - the Beatrixoord rehabilitation center in Haren.
"This involves coronavirus patients who pose a danger to their environment and compulsory admission is a last resort that can be used with the aim of protecting society," UMCG said in a statement. The hospital called it a "very strict procedure that will not be used lightly". "During the entire corona crisis, such a compulsory admission has not yet been necessary in the Netherlands. The UMCG does not play a role in this decision making process."
In practice, the coronavirus has already spread too far through the country for forced quarantine to be of much use and the measure is therefore expected not to come into play, according to the broadcaster.