From 9 PM yesterday evening, flights from South Africa to the Netherlands were cancelled immediately as a travel ban against the African nation came into effect.
A new strand of the coronavirus was recently diagnosed in South Africa, and the Ministry of Infrastructure has confirmed that the flight ban is to prevent this from spreading further in the Netherlands, reports NOS.
Similarly, Turkey has banned all flights from the Netherlands, as someone in the Netherlands was diagnosed with the mutated coronavirus, reports NU.
The new strand, also found in the UK, Denmark, Australia, Italy, and now one case in the Netherlands, is 70% more contagious than previous variants of the coronavirus, according to the British government. Flights from the UK have also been banned.
Cases in South Africa are currently rising rapidly, and flights from the country have also been banned by Turkey, Israel and Germany. Dutch people in South Africa and the UK, where the mutation has also been found, will not be repatriated. “We can’t do that. In coronavirus time, travel is just a risk, people should understand that,” says Public Health Minister Hugo de Jonge.
“For Dutch people who cannot return from South Africa, the advice is to find safe accommodation,” writes the Ministry of Infrastructure.
Return with a negative test
For now, flights from South Africa carrying cargo and medical personnel will still be permitted. But the health minister hopes to put a mandatory negative test result in place, which would allow other flights from South Africa to resume.
The Dutch government hopes to implement this as soon as possible, and the negative test requirement would also apply to EU citizens.
For Dutch truck drivers stuck in the UK, De Jonge has said that with negative tests they will be allowed to return home now. However, he warned that the testing process can take a few days and so for them to return home in time for Christmas is unlikely.
Will these new travel bans effect you? Tell us in the comments below.
Feature Image: Niels And Marco/Unsplash