Do not travel anywhere except for emergencies: Dutch government

A nearly abandoned D Concourse in Departures 1 at Schiphol, 10 March 2020
A nearly abandoned D Concourse in Departures 1 at Schiphol, 10 March 2020Federico Barrios, used with permission

The Dutch government issued a far-reaching cautionary statement on Tuesday telling the country's residents to avoid traveling outside the Netherlands at all costs. The warning, released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was because of the rapid speed with which new restrictions were being introduced by the national government and governments abroad.

"Holiday trips abroad are not recommended," the Ministry continued. "If you have travel plans, consider whether this trip is really necessary. Postpone or cancel the trip whenever possible."​

Those who were already abroad when the government updated its travel advice were told to work with their travel provider to return at the earliest date possible. Anyone not able to depart for the Netherlands should work with their travel provider to secure shelter.

"Many countries are taking drastic measures to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus," the Ministry said. "These measures have far-reaching consequences for travelers."

The prevailing global advice is for "all Dutch people to stop traveling abroad unless strictly necessary. This is not because of health aspects, but because of the impact that government measures can have on Dutch travelers."

The only exceptions to the advice are for emergencies, and some provisions for the freight and logistics, and the transportation sectors.

The decision on Tuesday was made after the European Union nations issued a severe restriction on anyone wishing to travel to the Schengen Area, which includes the Netherlands. This past weekend saw nations quickly and suddenly enforce constraints on their borders, ports, and landing strips to prevent a widening spread of coronavirus infection; in one day alone the Dutch government released updated travel advisories for over a dozen nations and overseas territories.

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