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Dutch Health Institute Advises Govt to Tighten Travel Rules Amid Fears of Omicron Variant

The Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) has proposed that Dutch authorities tighten entry rules, especially for affected third countries, in order to prevent an increase in COVID-19 cases and further spread of the new COVID. -19 variant, Omicron.

To keep the epidemiological situation under control, the RIVM advised that the Netherlands require all non-EU travelers, regardless of their vaccination status, to submit a negative PCR test performed 48 hours prior to arrival.

If this option is inconvenient for travelers, RIVM has suggested that third-country nationals undergo testing 72 hours before departure and another within 24 hours of arrival, reports.

Moreover, the same advised that the Dutch authorities impose quarantine requirements on travelers from outside the European Union who have not been vaccinated or cured of the virus.

With regard to travelers from areas currently severely affected by Omicron Varian, RIVM has advised that everyone, even vaccinated and recovered travelers, should submit a negative coronavirus test within 24 hours, go into self-isolation, and take two more tests; One on the day of arrival and the other on the fifth day.

However, as the EU Commission and its Council have yet to come up with any recommendations on the matter, Dutch Health Minister Hugo de Jong said it was better to wait rather than impose any new measures that would cause incoherence. between member states.

“In addition to the measures we have taken immediately, we are also considering mandatory testing for people from a high-risk area with a variable of concern on arrival, as well as already mandatory double testing before departure,” the Minister of Health from the Netherlands, Hugo de Jong, wrote today on His official Twitter account.

At the same time, the minister said officials are in talks with airlines and airports about the rules that should be imposed against travelers from the affected areas of Omicron.

“We also want agreements in a European context about: pre-departure aircraft testing for non-EU travelers and an in-flight quarantine obligation for everyone arriving from a high-risk area and unvaccinated upon arrival from non-EU regions,” Jung added.

The Netherlands has already detected dozens of cases of the new Omicron variant. The first cases were detected at airports.

However, since a person who was not in any of the affected areas also contracted the new variant, it has been suggested that Omicron has been in circulation in the Netherlands for several weeks now.

The Netherlands has already banned flights from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Only Dutch nationals and many others on the exemption list are allowed to enter the Netherlands after visiting one of these countries, provided they follow strict entry procedures.

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