As more than a third of the UK were told that they were to be under the newly-created “Tier 4” stage of lockdown with just a few hours’ notice, the Netherlands banned flights from the UK to stop the spread of a more infectious strain of Covid-19 that has been devastating large parts of southern England. Here’s a closer look at the flight ban, and what the new lockdown tier in England entails.
Netherlands Ban UK Flights – Implications For Travelers
Effective as of 6 AM CET, the Netherlands has announced that it is to block inbound flights from the UK. Before this decision, those from the UK had been able to enter to Netherlands as normal, provided that they fill out a pre-flight health screening form and isolate for ten days upon arrival.
This has some implications for travelers as it means any plans they may have had to arrive in the Netherlands over the festive period must now be cancelled or changed. There are alternative routes into the Netherlands, as there is currently no ban on arriving via car, ferry or train, so it is technically still possible to enter the country. However, the UK is still advising travelers to cancel all unnecessary travel plans.
New Covid-19 Strain – What Does It Mean For Travel?
The decision to block flights from the UK into the Netherlands is motivated largely by the discovery of a new strain of the Covid-19 virus. According to the Dutch Health Ministry, the new strain is more infectious, meaning it spreads more easily, and it harder to detect.
Scientists are yet to test the new mutation fully, but they don’t expect it to be more severe or resistant to the vaccines available, so it is unlikely to affect any future vaccine-related travel allowances. However, the response of the Netherlands might be one that’s followed by other countries close to the UK – cutting off access to contain it and limit its spread. The Dutch government, in its statement that announced the blocking of UK flights, announced they were collaborating with other EU states to look into the possibility of restricting the UK further. This would see travel options from the UK severely limited, and many travelers from the UK forced to remain home until the spread of the virus in their country was better controlled. By taking the drastic measure to put much of the country into Tier 4 lockdown, the UK is hoping to do just that.
“Tier 4” – How Are Travelers Affected?
Speaking to the nation from a press conference broadcast live on television, the UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson made the unexpected announcement to put much of Southeast England under the newly-created Tier 4 lockdown over the festive period.
Coming just days after announcing it would be “inhuman” to cancel Christmas, the Prime Minister announced that those affected would not be able to mix with other households on Christmas Day and that they must stay home at all times unless they had a “reasonable excuse” for leaving their houses. A full list of Tier 4 regulations can be found here.
Travel has also been severely affected for those in Tier 4. Travel is now deemed only to be for work, education or other legally permitted reasons, such as for medical reasons. Those in Tier 4 are also forbidden from traveling abroad unless expressly permitted to do so.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories