Monday’s Eurostar train services from Amsterdam to London have been cancelled following Belgium’s decision to ban train travel to and from UK in an effort to stop the spread of a new, more infectious variant of coronavirus.
‘Due to the Belgian government’s announcement that borders with the UK will close at midnight on Sunday 20th December, we are unable to run any trains between London, Brussels and Amsterdam on Monday 21st December,’ Eurostar said in a statement.
The Belgian government has said it will review the position in 24 hours.
The Belgian decision to close its borders with the UK came after the Netherlands said it had banned flights from Britain from 6am on Sunday. Italy, France and Germany are also taking similar action.
In addition, ferry companies are also reporting that they are not bringing passengers to the Netherlands, and some have been stranded at English ports, Nu.nl said on Sunday evening.
The ban on flights from the UK will run until January 1, 2021, the Dutch government said in an update on the measures on Sunday afternoon.
‘On that date, as a result of Brexit, the United Kingdom will become a third country. Travellers from the UK arriving in the Netherlands by airplane or ferry will then have to produce a negative test declaration for COVID-19,’ the statement said.
Ferry services are so far unaffected but this may change. ‘Over the next few days, together with other EU member states, the Netherlands will explore the scope for further limiting the risk of the new strain of the virus being brought over from the UK,’ the government statement said.
‘The government wishes to emphasise once again that travelling abroad carries a substantial risk of spreading coronavirus. Do not travel unless it is absolutely essential.’
Schiphol airport says passengers who should have been travelling from the UK to the Netherlands should contact their airline for further information. KLM is still assessing the impact of the ban and is urging passengers to monitor the website for further information,.
In total, KLM flies to and from 13 different UK locations.
A KLM spokeswoman told DutchNews.nl flights to the UK are going ahead as planned because they have not been banned, but aircraft will return to the Netherlands with freight but no passengers. However, passengers are advised to check their flight status.
The airline is contacting transit passengers and trying to rebook them via a different hub, the spokeswoman said. The airline is currently in the process of updating its website.