The Dutch government has announced a flight ban against travellers coming from the UK, in effect as of 6 AM this morning. The restrictions are intended to limit the spread of the new more infectious mutation of the COVID-19 virus that is circulating in the UK, which has also been discovered in the Netherlands.
The UK imposed stricter measures for London and the southern and eastern parts of the country on Saturday afternoon. In these affected regions, retail, gyms, and other facilities have closed, and the British government has issued urgent advice against travel and inviting guests to the home.
It’s in response to this report from the UK that the Netherlands has revised the travel advice, according to the cabinet’s press statement. The RIVM recommends that “pending further information and an explanation of the epidemiological situation in the United Kingdom, any introduction of this virus strain from the United Kingdom be limited as much as possible.”
The ban is in place until January 1, though it may be extended. The restriction does not apply to medical personnel.
GGD detects mutated strain
A coronavirus case in the Netherlands at the beginning of December revealed the same variant of the virus characterised in the UK. The GGD is further investigating this case to determine where it came from and whether any related cases can be identified.
— anna holligan 🎙 (@annaholligan) December 20, 2020
Other modes of travel still allowed
The Dutch government is closely monitoring the development of the situation abroad and investigating the possibility for additional measures against other forms of transportation. For now, travelling by train, car, and boat is still permitted, although the cabinet reiterates the advice: “do not travel, unless strictly necessary.”
According to the NOS, Schiphol Airport and KLM are investigating what the impact of the ban on travellers will be. For the time being, most flights to the UK will take off as scheduled with passengers and the aircraft will then fly back empty. “You can no longer book a ticket on these flights,” said a spokesman.
KLM advises affected travellers to keep an eye on the status of their flight via the KLM website.
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Feature Image: DutchReview/Canva