Mandatory testing for travelers from countries with worrying Covid variant: Outbreak Team
Update 11:40 a.m. - More information added in the second and fourth paragraph
The Cabinet should investigate whether it can impose a test obligation on travelers from countries where a worrying variant of the coronavirus is circulating. That is the advice of the Outbreak Management Team.
If more tests are done on people returning from countries with a Variant of Concern (VOC), more infections can be detected. It also benefits research into the new Omicron variant, the OMT said. That is "of great importance for national and international combat."
Travelers from countries with a VOC are already advised to get tested on arrival at Schiphol, but according to the OMT, "there are concerns about the degree of follow-up" of that advice. "Persons who are not interested in a test can reject it and continue traveling in the Netherlands without getting tested."
The Cabinet indicated last week that mandatory testing upon arrival cannot be imposed structurally at the moment. Doing so will require a legislative amendment. The Ministry of Public Health said it is still considering mandatory testing upon arrival.
Several African countries are already subject to a double test requirement before departure due to the emergence of the Omicron variant. These are Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Nambia, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, and South Africa.
Reporting by ANP.