NL: Travelers could face €435 fine, criminal record for leaving quarantine

AMSTERDAM - All travelers arriving in the Netherlands from areas at a high-risk for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection will face a 435 euro fine if they violate the obligatory quarantine, according to a bill sent by the caretaker Cabinet to Parliament on Friday. Additionally, the bill includes language which makes it mandatory for people driving across the border in a private vehicle to also be able to demonstrate a negative coronavirus test result.

Anyone who enters the country from a high-risk area by any mode of transportation will be required to enter quarantine for five days, at which time they can take a coronavirus test. A negative result will release the quarantine order. Someone who opts out of the test can exit quarantine after ten days.

"When coming to the Netherlands, travelers must have a statement with them stating travel and contact details and they are responsible for a suitable quarantine accommodation," the Cabinet said. "Research shows that travelers do not adhere to quarantine rules."

The fine was substantially higher than what was rumored earlier in the week, making it  an official part of the violator's criminal record. That could make it harder for a visitor to enter the Netherlands at a later date, and it can also have implications when applying for residency, citizenship, or certain jobs which require a background check.

Worldwide, all countries are at least at Code Orange for health risks, meaning only essential trips should be made. Some parts of South America, Africa and Asia are at Code Red either for health risks or issues with personal safety.

Entering the Netherlands from any Code Orange country means a person is supposed to enter quarantine, but it is not currently enforced. "We must prevent people bringing viral mutations in with their luggage when they come back to the Netherlands, especially if more travel is possible in the future," said Health Minister Hugo de Jonge.

Fines of over 95 euros for violating other coronavirus restrictions, and thus causing a strike on a person's criminal record, have been shot down in the past by the lower house of Parliament.

If it passes, the law could potentially take effect on May 15, the date that the Cabinet's negative advice on traveling abroad is set to expire. That could potentially impact people returning to the Netherlands after the May school vacation period.

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