Netherlands abolishes flight ban in 8 southern African countries
Dutch authorities have lifted the flight ban introduced for eight southern African countries a few weeks ago due to problems with the Omicron virus variant.
According to a press release issued by Dutch authorities, the measure entered into force today, December 23, affecting arrivals from South Africa, Lesotho, Eswatini, Botswana, Mozambique, Malawi, Namibia and Zimbabwe, reports SchengenVisaInfo.com.
However, these countries will be classified as very high risk with a viral variant of concern, meaning that stricter rules will apply to these arrivals compared to low risk Omicron variant countries.
Additionally, all travelers over the age of 12 must present a PCR test performed 24 hours prior to arrival. In addition, a pre-departure PCR test carried out 48 hours before is recognized valid for entry, provided the traveler presents another antigen test carried out 24 hours before reaching the Netherlands. This testing requirement applies to all travelers, regardless of their vaccination or recovery status.
Additionally, a ten-day quarantine requirement applies to all travelers, with the option to reduce isolation time by taking a test at public health facilities (GGD) five days after entering the country. .
Yesterday, Dutch authorities ordered a testing requirement for all non-EU / Schengen area travelers aged 12 and over, regardless of their vaccination status.
“An entry ban into the EU is in effect for people traveling from non-EU countries with a high risk of COVID-19, unless the purpose of their trip falls under one of the of the following exemption categories. If you have been fully vaccinated and meet the conditions, you can also travel to the Netherlands â, explain the Dutch authorities, also stressing that the exemption does not apply to the very high risk area with a viral variant of the areas of concern.
In addition, all EU countries are currently on the Netherlands’ high-risk zone list as the Omicron virus variant is spreading rapidly in the 27-nation bloc. However, with the exception of the EU COVID-19 digital certificate, no other documents are required. Only Sardinia in Italy is currently considered a safe region of the EU by the Dutch authorities.
On the other hand, the entry ban into the EU does not apply to the following third countries, whose travelers are not required to quarantine themselves upon arrival.
- Faroe Islands
- Hong Kong SAR
- Macao SAR
- New Zealand
- San Marino
- Saudi Arabia
- South Korea
- United Arab Emirates
- Vatican City
Yet even when traveling from these countries, a full vaccination or recovery certificate must be provided.
In a bid to minimize the spread of the new strain of coronavirus, the Netherlands ordered a nationwide Christmas lockdown earlier this week, which will remain in effect until January 24. Under the new lockdown rules, all gymnasiums, public places, bars, indoor restaurants and non-essential stores will be closed until the lockdown ends.
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