Its caretaker government rolled out a series of new measures to combat the threat posed by the variant that ravaged Britain and now believed to be circulating on the Continent. Prime Minister Mark Rutte said: “We’re getting out of this, but first we have to brace ourselves again now that more contagious variants are coming our way.” In an announcement, The Hague said it would introduce “additional travel restrictions and no-fly zones”.
A statement said: “The government is taking extra measures to prevent the importing of new virus variants via travellers and to further limit the number of travel movements.
“The United Kingdom is subject to a flight ban and a docking ban for ferries.
“The ban will also apply to flights from South Africa, Cape Verde, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.
“This no-fly zone will apply for the time being for a maximum of one month, or until the proposed mandatory quarantine for travellers is legally regulated.”
The Dutch government has also imposed the country’s first nationwide curfew since the Second World War.
The restrictions are set to be approved by the parliament later today.
The measures are expected to face significant opposition with Covid cases seemingly falling across the Netherlands.
Mr Rutte said: “This is a very tough measure, but we are at a crossroads.
“The British variant doesn’t leave us with an alternative.”
He added: “The British variant carries a much higher risk of infection and a much higher risk of hospital and intensive care unit admission.”
The flight ban will take effect on Saturday, and covers areas were new mutant strains have emerged from.
Dutch health minister Hugo de Jonge said the British variant will “take over completely” by March or April because it is at least 30 percent more infectious.
The plan could also see Britain added to a “common list of virus variant areas”.
It could mean the EU would “limit the exemptions for essential travel to those in place between mid-March and the end of July 2020”.
“Protecting the health of EU citizens while ensuring freedom of movement within the EU and travel without border checks within the Schengen area make it necessary for Member States to take coordinated action to contain the spread of new variants of concern of the SARS-CoV-2 virus,” the paper adds.
“The variants known so far are B117 (British mutation) and 501V2 (South African mutation); there is the fear that further mutations will emerge.
“Only if Member States take joint and coordinated action, can the virus be contained effectively. For this reason, we see an urgent need to act in order to prevent or at least slow down the spread of worrying virus variants to and within the EU+ area.”
Published at Thu, 21 Jan 2021 09:05:00 +0000