Dutch Cabinet delays tightening travel rules, despite health service advice
The Cabinet first wants to consult with European countries before adopting recommendations from the RIVM on travel measures. The RIVM advised, among other things, that all travelers, including vaccinated ones, be tested for Covid-19 before traveling to the Netherlands. It also recommended mandatory quarantine for unvaccinated travelers from outside the EU.
But caretaker Health Minister Hugo de Jonge wants to consult with other countries first to avoid "a patchwork" of measures, said a Ministry spokesperson. The Cabinet asked for advice after the Omnicron variant was discovered on a flight from South Africa.
According to the RIVM, all travelers should submit a negative PCR test no older than 48 hours. If that is not possible, a negative PCR test up to 72 hours old plus a negative rapid test up to 24 hours old will suffice. The RIVM also advised that everyone take a self-test on arrival and get tested by the GGD five days later.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Public Health said that this is the first step, and the Netherlands will bring the advice to the attention of other EU Member States. "The Netherlands cannot act alone in this, but we are taking the initiative." He stressed that strict rules are already in place for travel from southern Africa, such as a double testing obligation and mandatory quarantine for at least five days.
The government is also considering making a PCR test mandatory on arrival for travelers from "very high-risk areas." Travelers from southern Africa are already urged to do this, but there is no obligation yet. In acute situations, someone can be obliged to get tested, but this is not yet possible on a structural basis. A legislative amendment is needed for that.
Reporting by ANP