Netherlands to require negative Covid test for air passengers from Dec. 29
The Dutch government will require all airline passengers to be screened for a negative coronavirus test before traveling to the Netherlands from an area designated as high-risk for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. The new rule will take effect at 12:01 a.m. on December 29, and affects everyone flying to the country, including Dutch citizens.
Airlines flying to the Netherlands from any high-risk area, including those within the European Union, will be obligated to check passengers for a negative PCR test before they board the aircraft. The test must be carried out no more than 72 hours before arriving in the Netherlands, wrote Health Minister Hugo de Jonge in a letter to Parliament on Wednesday night.
“If passengers do not have a negative PCR test result that meets the requirements, they are not allowed to board the aircraft,” De Jonge wrote. He also said that there would be exceptions to the obligation published on the government’s website, but the list was not immediately available.
Currently, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has classified all countries as a high-risk area, with a Code Orange or Code Red designation for the health risks associated with the pandemic.
Arriving passengers will still be told to enter quarantine for 10 days. “The Cabinet emphasizes once again that foreign travel at this time is only intended for those who have to travel for necessary reasons and that the current quarantine rules will continue to apply with this measure,” he wrote.
The Netherlands is also looking at enforcing a similar requirement for any other form of commercial passenger transportation, including buses, ferries, and trains. Ferry and rail providers in the United Kingdom already started carrying out this duty at the behest of the Dutch, Belgian and French governments.
De Jonge said that the Cabinet agreed this was the best way to safeguard against a more dangerous mutation of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus from crossing the Dutch border. “It cannot be ruled out that a similar virus such as in the UK and South Africa will be found in other countries,” he said, referring to the highly-contagious mutations of the virus that have been found there.