Dutch ban passenger flights from India on public health institute advice
The Netherlands has introduced a ban on passenger flights from India, just days after saying there was no need to take such a step, despite the surge in coronavirus cases.
Some 300,000 new cases a day are currently being reported in India and ministers are also concerned about the spread of new variants of the disease, the infrastructure ministry said.
In addition, ‘the cabinet wants to prevent the Netherlands becoming the option of choice for passengers from India heading for the European Union,’ the ministry said in a statement. The decision to ban passenger flights was taken on the basis of ‘urgent advice’ from public health institute RIVM.
Some seven flights a week come to the Netherlands from India and many passengers are in transit. Cargo flights have not been affected by the ban, which will stay in place until at least May 1.
Dutch nationals and others who cannot return from India because of the ban are being ‘advised to look for a safe place to stay’.
Passenger flights from South Africa and several countries in south America have been banned from landing at Dutch airports since January.
The Netherlands earlier halted all but essential travel from countries outside the EU with exceptions for people on business, students, people coming to work under the highly-skilled migrant scheme, arts sector professionals and people in a long-distance relationship with a Dutch or other EU national.
Arrivals are required to have a negative coronavirus test and go into quarantine for 10 days, five if a coronavirus test after five days is negative.
The Netherlands has also agreed to make extra €2.5m available to the Red Cross for emergency coronavirus-related care. Of this, €1m is destined for India.
Earlier the Netherlands donated an additional €40m to the international Covax programme, which organizes vaccines for developing countries, the foreign affairs ministry said.
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