The Netherlands lifts its travel ban on unvaccinated British visitors, while Hong Kong may ease Covid rules

The Netherlands lifts its travel ban on unvaccinated British visitors, while Hong Kong may ease Covid rules

Opening: City Scene in Rotterdam (Simon Calder)

Opening: City Scene in Rotterdam (Simon Calder)

The Netherlands has become the latest major western European nation to lift its ban on British travelers who are not considered fully vaccinated against Covid.

Until this weekend, visitors from outside the EU were only allowed to travel to Amsterdam and the rest of the country if they had completed a crash course in the previous 270 days, or subsequently received a booster at any time.

But the government suddenly dropped the requirement, citing “the current epidemiological situation in the Netherlands”.

A statement from the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport said: “The Dutch government has decided to lift the EU entry ban for the Netherlands from 17 September 2022.

“No Covid-19-related restrictions or requirements apply to travelers entering the Netherlands, including those from countries outside the EU/Schengen area.”

But the government warns: “If you visit the Netherlands and you test positive for coronavirus, you must isolate yourself.

“If you booked your trip through a tour operator, contact them if you need to self-isolate because of a positive test.

“If you are traveling independently, you need to arrange a place to isolate yourself.”

During the coronavirus pandemic, the Netherlands imposed some unusual rules, including an obligation for foreign visitors to be tested daily to access cafes, restaurants and tourist attractions.

Regarding social distancing, the Ministry of Health says: “It is no longer mandatory to stay 1.5 meters from others. But this is still a safe distance. So give others enough space.”

Luxembourg and Slovakia still ban unvaccinated visitors from outside the EU. Spain – the most popular destination for British travelers – requires tourists who have not yet fully completed to take a Covid test ahead of their trip.

Outside of Europe, there are strong indications that Hong Kong may finally relax the requirement that all arrivals go into hotel quarantine for three days, followed by four days of medical monitoring – where arrivals cannot enter “high-risk premises” or visit places such as restaurants where masks are not used.

The South China Morning Post reports that official sources are set to drop the rule, instead asking visitors to monitor their own health for the first week.

The current requirement for multiple PCR tests may also be dropped, the sources said.

Tourism to Hong Kong has fallen since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and the city’s airline, Cathay Pacific, operates only a small proportion of its pre-Covid flights.

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