• Meuse-Rhine Gazette

Travel from UK banned in all three Euregio Meuse-Rhine countries

A mutation of the Covid-19 coronavirus fuelled the British government's decision to implement 'Tier 4' lockdown regulations in all 32 London boroughs, south-east England and eastern England. This in turn has seen Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany ban incoming travel from the UK.

The Rijksoverheid (NL) announced a ban on flights entering the Netherlands from the United Kingdom in the early hours of Sunday morning and have since this evening informed ferry operators that passengers from the UK will not be admitted. Het Overlegcomité / le Comité de concertation (BE) followed suit at around midday with Belgium's ban on travel from the UK including rail travel (via Eurostar). Bundestag (DE) announced their tightened incoming travel regulations on Sunday evening.

Rijksoverheid (NL):

"An infectious mutation of the COVID-19 virus is circulating in the United Kingdom. It is said to spread more easily and more rapidly and is also more difficult to detect. On this basis, the British Government announced stricter regulations for London, the south-east and east of the United Kingdom on Saturday afternoon.

A case of an infection with the variant described in the United Kingdom was identified in the Netherlands at the beginning of December. This case is being further investigated in response to this report from the UK, with the GGD (Municipal Health Authority) looking at who is affected, how the infection originated and whether any related cases are known.

The RIVM has revised the travel advice for persons coming from the UK on the basis of the report on the situation in the UK. Pending further details and clarification of the health situation in the UK, the RIVM recommends that any introduction of this virus strain from the UK should be minimised by restricting or controlling travel movements from the UK as much as possible. On this basis, as a precautionary measure, the Kabinet took the following decision:

Prohibition of air travel with passengers from the United Kingdom at 06:00 local time from 20 December 2020. The no-fly zone will apply until 1 January 2021 at the latest."

Passengers on ferries from the United Kingdom are no longer allowed to enter the Netherlands. P&O Ferries, which operates between Rotterdam and Hull, has been informed by the Rotterdam authorities that passengers from the UK are no longer welcome.

Shipping companies Stena Line and DFDS report that they have disembarked passengers. Stena Line is temporarily not accept new bookings for the connection Harwich - Hook of Holland.

Het Overlegcomité / le Comité de concertation (BE)

As a precautionary measure, Belgium, after the Netherlands, is also introducing an entry ban on flights from the United Kingdom. The ban will enter into force at midnight on Sunday and will last for at least 24 hours. Eurostar connections from the UK will also be temporarily suspended.

Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced this on Belgian television show De Sevende Dag. The tightened regulations are due to the mutation of the coronavirus that has emerged in the UK. The measure will initially be in force for 24 hours because scientific consultations on the matter are still in full swing. "We do not yet have a conclusive answer," said De Croo.

Our country is also consulting with France on the matter. Eurostar trains from the UK are also arriving on the European mainland there. Travellers can then travel on from there to Belgium. That is why there will also be preventive checks on the roads, according to the Prime Minister.

For travellers coming from the UK – which is already a red zone – compliance with the quarantine measures will be monitored more closely. "We will give very clear information to those arriving about what is expected of them," said De Croo.

Die Landesregierung Nordrhein-Westfalen (DE) The state government of Nordrhein-Westfalen NRW will reinstate the quarantine order for travellers from Great Britain and South Africa on Sunday evening at midnight in the hope of preventing the spread of the mutated Corona virus. This was announced by Nordrhein-Westfalen Ministerpräsident on NRW state public broadcaster WDR this evening.

According to the Bundesverkehrsministerium (German Federal Ministry of Transport), the ban is based on an EU regulation. With this, the regulation could initially apply from midnight until 31 December 2020.

A more far-reaching regulation for the period from 1 January and an entry restriction also for South Africa are then to be initiated on Monday via a Kabinettsabstimmung (cabinet vote), as a comparable mutation had also occurred in the African country.

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