• EM Power

NL: travel to safe countries possible again as of 15 May, but risk remains

The Dutch Kabinet has decided that, as of 15 May, travel to countries with a low infection level will be possible again. Holiday travel to these countries will no longer be advised against as of that date. Safe countries will be colour coded Groen or Geel in the travel advice issued by the Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken. The Kabinet will continue to warn against travel to countries that are high-risk COVID areas thus be colour coded Oranje or Rood. All non-emergency travel to these countries remains discouraged.

At this moment, few countries qualify for a Groen or Geel travel advice as of 15 May. The Kabinet hopes that in the run-up to the warmer months more and more countries can be designated as safe, making a holiday abroad a realistic option this summer. However, the Kabinet points out that countries with a Groen or Geel travel advice may decide to impose travel restrictions on travellers from the Netherlands, restrictions such as mandatory testing or quarantine.

"The fact that the group of vaccinated people throughout Europe is growing is encouraging and will be reflected in lower infection levels. However, the situation surrounding the coronavirus with possible mutations remains uncertain and it is therefore impossible to predict exactly what the summer months will look like."

The Kabinet emphasises that even where holiday travel is no longer advised, a holiday or trip is not the same as before the pandemic. Travelling remains a risk because the situation in each country can change quickly, for instance because the corona virus breaks out somewhere.

In most countries, corona virus regulations are in place and tourists have to comply with them. The Kabinet urges holidaymakers to at least observe the basic regulations as implemented in the Netherlands when abroad, namely to wash hands regularly, maintain a distance of 1.5 metres, stay indoors if symptoms appear and then have yourself tested. Adhere to the instructions en route, at your holiday destination and upon your return home. Even if you have already been vaccinated. As of 15 May, travellers from Groen and Geel countries or regions are welcome in the Netherlands again.

The Kabinet advises people with travel plans to check the travel advice of the Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken beforehand to determine whether the country of destination is safe and whether there are any entry restrictions, such as quarantine or testing requirements. The travel advice can be found at netherlandsworldwide.nl and in the Ministry's travel app, the ReisApp.

The Kabinet emphasises that it is important to consult travel advice not only when booking a trip, but also shortly before departure, during the trip and upon return. The situation in a country or region can change rapidly. It is also important that travellers carefully check what regulations apply en route, for example at the airport, station or in the countries through which people travel by car on their way to their destination. To receive automatic notifications (in Dutch) when travel advice changes, download the ReisApp.

The RIVM assesses for which countries an increased risk applies. The RIVM looks at various factors, namely the degree of infection, the number of tests taken, the percentage of positive tests, the number of travellers who test positive in the Netherlands and have recently been to a particular country and the trend in the incidence figures (how often corona infections occur). In addition, the RIVM also looks at the occurrence of mutations and variants.

Countries or areas that have been identified by the RIVM as high-risk countries are allocated the colour Oranje in the travel advice. Travellers from high-risk countries must be able to show a negative test result upon their return to the Netherlands and are urgently advised to spend ten days in quarantine. After five days, the quarantine can be ended with a negative test result.

People coming from a very high risk area will soon be required to go to quarantine for ten days. The moment this last measure takes effect depends on when the law that makes this possible comes into force. This will most likely happen soon.

However, a country or area can also be coloured Oranje for safety reasons not related to corona. A country coloured Rood in the travel advice is very unsafe, all travel to this country is not recommended. Information on the colour codes can be found in the travel advice.

Digital Green Certificate

The Kabinet believes that widespread vaccination will help us out of the pandemic and will give us back more and more freedom, also to travel. In the EU, decision-making is underway for the Digital Green Certificate that allows people to show that they have been vaccinated, recently tested negative for Covid-19 or have built up immunity after a recent infection.

The target date of the European Commission when the European legislation regulating the Digital Green Certificate must be in force is 21 June 2021. In all likelihood, the member states will then have another six weeks to make everything technically ready.

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