International Students' Corona Pass Problems Discussed in Dutch Parliament
The Dutch Ministry of Health is looking at additional measures to help non-EU students and others who have been fully or partially vaccinated abroad, but are still experiencing problems getting a corona pass or Corona Check App if they want to visit cafes, clubs, restaurants, theatres or attend a sports event.
The Minister of Health, Huge de Jonge, answered questions in parliament on the issue this week.
Currently, the only way for people to gain entry is through the app, which generates a QR code that shows whether the user has been fully vaccinated, has recently had coronavirus, or has had a negative test within the past 24 hours. Those who have been vaccinated abroad can still apply for the code, but they have to make an appointment in Utrecht.
De Jonge said about 24,000 people have been served in Utrecht, but the waiting time can run up to 6 days for an appointment. Another location in Groningen is expected to be added later this month and possibly others might follow. “More locations means better preparation in terms of organisation, ICT and limiting the risk of fraud.”
He also said aside from those who have been partially of fully vaccinated abroad, other problems have also been reported, such as people who do not have a BSN-number (social security number) and data issues. The government is now looking for solutions to help this group as well as people who for medical reasons are not able to get vaccinated or tested.
It was also asked how it is possible that people who have been vaccinated abroad get entry into the country without being obligated to go into quarantine, and yet that is still not sufficient to gain entry into some places. De Jonge said the two are not comparable as there is a bigger chance of infection going into theatres, restaurants, etc.
De Jonge was also asked whether any measures are being taken to open a location at Schiphol airport so that incoming passengers who qualify can be supplied there and then with a corona pass at their own cost instead of taking a corona test at the cost of the Dutch taxpayer every 24 hours once they are here.
De Jonge said that increases in tourists, international students and other travellers are indeed expected but issues such as the protection of personal information and risk of fraud will have to be worked out. The Netherlands is also looking to other EU countries to see how they deal with the issue.
by James Wittenborg