The Dutch government once again designated South Africa on its list of high-risk countries for COVID-19, after it was designated a high-risk area less than two weeks ago, on January 16.
The decision was announced on Friday, January 28, and is set to go into effect the next day.
This means that travelers from South Africa will no longer have to quarantine when entering the Netherlands. Travelers will still need to provide a negative test result and qualify for exemption from the EU entry ban,” the Government of the Netherlands notes in a press release announcing the decision.
The same also states that fully vaccinated travelers from South Africa who show evidence of vaccination with one of the vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) or the World Health Organization (WHO) are exempted from the obligation to submit negative test results.
To date, the EMA approved vaccines are Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Janssen and Novavax. On the other hand, the World Health Organization has also approved Sinopharm, Sinovac and Covaxin.
>> Netherlands: Recognizing COVID-19 vaccines for travel
Apart from South Africa, the quarantine obligation for travelers from three other South African countries – Eswatini, Lesotho and Namibia – has also been cancelled.
On January 18, TheSchengen.com reported that the Netherlands reclassified South Africa as a high-risk region without any concern due to the high number of COVID-19 cases detected in the country.
Due to the decision, which became effective on January 16, South Africa was finally exempted from the entry ban, however they had to put into quarantine upon arrival in the country. Previously on December 23, the Netherlands lifted the ban on flights for eight people from South Africa, including South Africa, at the end of November, due to the spread of the Omicron virus in the region.
The decision to remove South Africa, Eswatini, Lesotho and Namibia from the list of high-risk areas comes at a time when the Netherlands is easing other travel restrictions as well.
From February 2, Wednesday, travelers from all countries of the world who have received a booster dose of COVID-19, including those coming from high-risk areas, will be allowed to enter the country without being quarantined. Travelers must have taken the booster vaccine at least seven days before the trip to the Netherlands in order to escape quarantine.
>> The Netherlands raises quarantine requirements for travelers receiving a booster dose
Whereas, from February 1, the Netherlands has warned that it will limit the validity of vaccination certificates from 12 to just nine months.