The GGDs are unhappy with the immediate introduction of new quarantine rules. At Friday’s press conference, it was announced that the quarantine for people who had contact with an infected person will be relaxed. Anyone who received a booster vaccination more than one week ago or who recovered from corona less than eight weeks ago no longer needs to be quarantined. The relaxation has to do with the high number of infections: due to strict quarantine rules, too many people are at home and society is disrupted.
The 25 regional GGDs were aware that the rules would be relaxed, says a spokesperson for GGD GHOR. However, the umbrella organization feels overwhelmed by the immediate effect, which, according to the GGD GHOR, is difficult to implement. “We would have liked to see the new rules come into effect on Friday 21 January, so that we would have had a week of preparation time.”
A week of preparation time for a simple adjustment may seem excessive, but there is a lot involved, according to the spokesperson. “The change must be implemented in all computer programs, printed matter and means of communication. Think of websites and information letters, but also of the thousands of people who answer questions by telephone. Their call scripts need to be modified. And then there are all kinds of exceptions, which we are working out in collaboration with the RIVM.”
Loss from work process
The entire package of measures took effect on Saturday at 5 a.m., says a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. “The easing of the quarantine is part of that package, and advised by the OMT. The importance of immediate implementation is that otherwise too many essential functions in society cannot be fulfilled.”
Minister Kuipers (VWS, D66) warns in a letter to Parliament on Friday for temporary confusion due to the immediate introduction: “The changes in the information materials of the GGD GHOR and RIVM take some time, so it may initially be the case that the information materials and the information provided by telephone to people who have tested positive and their close contacts , is not current.”
The ministry will continue throughout January with a publicity campaign on TV and social media to encourage compliance with isolation and quarantine rules. Central to this is the Quarantine Check (quarantinecheck.rijksoverheid.nl). Travelers from very high-risk areas, such as the United Kingdom, are made aware of the quarantine obligation via the Travel Quarantine Check (reizentijdenscorona.rijksoverheid.nl).
By the way, the new rules only apply to quarantine. The relaxation does not apply to people who are infected themselves and who are in isolation at home for an indefinite period of time.