Dutch travellers set for Rhodes holiday experiment

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12 April 2021

For most of us it remains a distant fantasy... a couple of Pina Coladas, beneath a parasol, embraced by Greek sunshine, APA reports citing BBC.

It's the reality for 187 Dutch nationals who are today swapping the snow and hailstones of the Netherlands for eight days on the island of Rhodes in an experiment designed to help policy-makers assess whether foreign holidays are feasible during a pandemic.

But travellers won't be allowed to leave the resort - not even to dip a toe in the Mediterranean.

They'll be tested for Covid before and after the trip and will have to quarantine for at least five days when they return home.

Inge Heesterbeek is excited about celebrating her 30th birthday with her boyfriend while dining a la carte - but she realises the temptation of a splash in the ocean will be tough to resist.

"Our hotel room has a sea-view but we know the limitations and we will follow the rules. This year has been difficult, so I'm excited to get out."

The Dutch government's current travel advice is that all non-essential overseas trips should be avoided, at least until the middle of May. This excursion has been approved as an exception.

"It's scientific and that's important to me," Inge says. "Another pandemic might come, so it's not a bad idea to try things out now so for the next time we know if this might be a solution. Many people here are not social distancing, like at the supermarket, while on the resort there will be rules and people reminding us, so it feels very safe actually."

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THE OPERATION IS BEING PERFORMED