Monday 06 July 2020

Don’t travel abroad unless strictly necessary, says Dutch government

Schiphol airport on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Nicholls-Lee

The Dutch foreign ministry is recommending that people only travel outside the Netherlands if it is strictly necessary, and has issued a code orange warning for all foreign countries.

The recommendation follows a decision taken by EU leaders on Tuesday to limit travel to and from the Schengen open border area.

Travellers from outside the EU will only be allowed in if their journey is absolutely essential. The ruling does not apply to EU citizens and their families, people with a residency permit, medical staff, truck drivers, diplomats and border workers.

The ministry is also in talks with the travel sector about bringing back Dutch residents who have been stranded abroad by the crackdown on travel imposed earlier by other countries.

According to broadcaster NOS, thousands of people are stuck in foreign countries as airlines scrap flights and some countries impose travel bans.

‘Unfortunately I know many of these stories,’ said MP Sjoerd Sjoerdsma. ‘My mailbox is full of them. Here’s hoping the cabinet and travel industry can help these people.’

According to some reports, as many as 50,000 people may be stuck, largely in popular winter sun resorts such as the Canary Islands, the Dutch Antilles, Morocco, the Algarve and southern Spain.

France, Italy, Spain and Belgium have imposed a full lockdown in an effort to stop the virus spreading. The Netherlands has imposed a wide package of measures, including closing schools, but has stopped short of ordering people to stay home.

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