The Netherlands Extends Ban On UK And South Africa Flights

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The Netherlands’ government has decided to extend the ban on passenger flights from Great Britain, South Africa, and several countries in South America. The ban on flights from these countries arriving in Holland was due to expire today but has now been extended to April 1 following recommendations from the government’s Outbreak Management Team.

Schiphol Airport Amsterdam Getty
The Dutch government is worried about COVID-19 variants Photo: Getty Images

Dutch transport minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen has confirmed that the restrictions first announced on January 23 will remain in place for at least another month. The Dutch government’s COVID-19 Outbreak Management Team (OMT) said that the decision to extend the ban was necessary because so few people are following the government’s guidelines to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.

“As long as compliance with the quarantine policy in the Netherlands is insufficient, it is important to keep passenger flows to a minimum, especially from countries where the different variants are circulating,” the OMT said.

On a slightly brighter note, the Dutch government has lifted the ban on Cape Verde flights and says that it is working on legislation to make quarantine requirements law.

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Do not travel to the Netherlands

If you are currently outside the Netherlands and wish to return home or visit, you must check off the following six points before traveling. This includes when you must show a negative coronavirus PCR test and for how long you must quarantine.

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If you arrive in the Netherlands from a non-EU or Schengen country, you must prove a negative PCR test. Photo: Getty Images
  • Entry ban: If you are in a country that is a member of the European Union (EU) or Schengen area, the entry ban does not apply. If you are not an EU or Schengen area citizen, the EU entry ban applies to you.
  • Flight ban: There is a ban on all flights arriving from the United Kingdom, South Africa, and certain countries in Central and South America. This also applies to people arriving by sea from the UK, although some exceptions apply to certain categories of travelers.
  • Negative PCR test result requirement: If you arrive in the Netherlands from a country or area deemed a high risk for the coronavirus, you must get tested no more than 72 hours before arriving in the Netherlands. You do not need to show a negative PCR test if you arrive from an EU or Schengen area country. Exceptions may apply to diplomats and people deemed to be performing essential services.
  • Negative test declaration: If you arrive from a non-EU or Schengen area country and are not a national of one of these countries, you must fill out a negative test declaration and carry it with you.
  • Health declaration for air travel: If you travel by air, you must fill out a health declaration and carry it with you. Some airlines will allow you to fill out the health declaration digitally when you check-in for your flight
  • Self-quarantine: When you arrive in the Netherlands, you must self-isolate for ten days. You can, however, get tested again on the fifth day after your arrival, and if the result is negative, you can end the self-quarantine.

Restriction to remain in place

While the spread of the coronavirus appears to be contained, the Dutch government says that the current lockdown will remain in force until at least March 15 with certain exceptions:

  • Secondary schools and institutions of secondary vocational education (MBO) will partially reopen from March 1
  • From March 3, young people aged 26 and below can train together outside at sports facilities.
  • Contact-based professions can be practiced again, and retailers may open for shopping by appointment.

Do your part to help prevent the spread

Despite the loosening of some of the restrictions, the Dutch government wants to remind people to stay at home and work from home as much as possible. Only go outside to shop for essentials, get medical or other assistance for yourself, care for others or animals, get some fresh air, or go to work or school if working or learning remotely is not possible.

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Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
The vaccine rollout could help ease travel restrictions. Photo: Getty Images

Unfortunately, international air travel is still complicated due to the coronavirus, but with vaccines continuing to be rolled out, that could all change before the summer.

How would you feel about having to carry some form of proof to say that you had been vaccinated for COVID-19? Please tell us what you think about a possible COVID-19 passport in the comments.

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