Netherlands could allow travel from UK, South Africa with negative Covid test
Travel from the United Kingdom and South Africa to the Netherlands could be permissible again for passengers who tested negative for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus within 72 hours of the journey. The possible relaxation of the travel bans affecting people in the two countries was made public by Infrastructure Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen and Foreign Affairs Minister Stef Blok on Tuesday.
Van Nieuwenhuizen would not commit to loosening up Dutch rules in time for people to return home for Christmas, broadcaster NOS reported. No flights from the UK have been allowed since Sunday morning, and passenger ferries from British ports were forbidden to dock in the Netherlands from Monday. Eurostar trains have also not been able to reach the Netherlands mainly due to restrictions in Belgium and France, with the latter also preventing passenger and cargo road traffic from the Channel Tunnel.
"We are now in talks with carriers, airlines and ferry companies about how quickly they can get this done," she said. Blok told Nu.nl he was anticipating an agreement on Tuesday afternoon with travel operators about monitoring the results of PCR swab tests.
"We hope it will not take very long," Van Nieuwenhuizen said. On arrival, passengers from the UK, South Africa, or any other high-risk area would be required to enter into home quarantine for ten days, she wrote in two separate letters to Parliament this week, but without stating if those quarantines would be enforced.
Both the United Kingdom and South Africa were battling separate, but similar mutations of the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus. The mutations were believed to be highly contagious, with the British variant having already been detected in the Netherlands earlier this month.
British authorities linked it to their sharp rise in positive tests for coronavirus over the past two weeks, which prompted them to put much of the country under a strict lockdown this past weekend.