45% of int’l travelers broke quarantine, mostly to shop
More than 45 percent of people broke the quarantine obligation after traveling to the Netherlands between February 14 and March 28, the RIVM said in newly published research. The main reason for disobeying the rule was to go shopping.
A summary of the research was sent by Health Minister Hugo de Jonge to the Tweede Kamer on Monday in response to questions asked by political party PVV to get an insight into why the Cabinet wants to fine people for breaking quarantine. The research was part of a regular survey carried out by the RIVM every six weeks. The latest round involved 47,254 participants questioned during the last few days of March, which included 1,265 who had been abroad in the previous six weeks.
A total of 573 people, or 45.3 percent, broke the rules to exit quarantine, sometimes for multiple reasons. Among those who did not shut themselves away for 10 days despite being told to do so, 69 percent went grocery shopping, and 57 percent said they just wanted to get some fresh air.
Some 31 percent said they had to leave their house to go to work, 18 percent had to take their dog for a walk, and 36% of people cited another reason for breaking the rule.
Just 12.3 percent, or 155 people, stuck to the rules and either stayed in isolation until day 10, or to exited to get a coronavirus test on day 5. They only left quarantine early if they had a negative test result. Additionally, 41.2 percent, or 521 people, were exempt from quarantine rules either because of visits to family over the Belgian or German borders, or because of work or school exemptions.
De Jonge was not able to estimate how many people will travel abroad in the coming summer months and to whom the quarantine obligation will apply upon their return. He said on Monday that more information about this will be revealed on May 11 during a press conference.
The new system which is set to be implemented soon suggests that individual risk will be examined per country, which will likely lead to fewer people having to undergo quarantine.
Travelers returning from “high-risk areas“ will still likely be subject to the quarantine obligation. Countries with 500 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants per fourteen days are recorded, dangerous viral strains or absent data are deemed as high risk.
Due to a fast vaccine rollout and declining number of infections in many European countries, a considerable number of destinations could be taken off the mandatory quarantine list for the Dutch travelers once the new rules enter into force.