Netherlands extends negative Covid test requirement to buses, trains & ships
A day after the Netherlands announced it would only allow airline passengers to travel to the country if they have been pre-screened for a negative coronavirus test, the Dutch government expanded the order to also cover anyone traveling by international bus, ship or train. The rules cover all commercial passengers, including Dutch citizens, departing from an area at high-risk for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
The rules for each mode of transportation will take effect on December 29 at 12:01 a.m. "The PCR test must be taken no more than 72 hours before arrival in the Netherlands," Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said in a letter to Parliament. Even with the negative test, passengers arriving from a high-risk area will be told to enter quarantine for ten days.
"This applies to both international ferry services and other waterborne passenger transport, such as sea and river cruises. At present this is already mandatory for ferry services from the UK," De Jonge wrote. A statement from the Cabinet noted that the government would work directly with cruise ship operators when they resume their service.
Some bus passengers crossing into the Netherlands from close to the border will be excluded from the requirement. The rule will still apply to intercity trains, the minister said.
Transportation providers must make it clear to passengers that they need documentation proving their test status, and they will be required to check the documents for validity at boarding or during the journey but before entering the Netherlands. Passengers must also be told during the ticket purchasing process that they may be denied boarding if they do not comply with the order.
Those arriving by ship only need to present the negative test if they are above the age of 12, the Cabinet wrote in a separate statement. That point was not specified in the minister's letter, nor was it explicitly stated for any other method of transit. De Jonge did say that exceptions would be written about in detail on the government's website.
As of December 15, when the Netherlands entered into a hard lockdown, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has designated every country in the world as either being at Code Red or Code Orange with regard to coronavirus infections. This means that each region is considered at high risk due to the pandemic, with no countries at the lesser Code Yellow or Green alert levels.