Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: The Netherlands is maintaining current COVID-19 restrictions as of July 31; significant business and travel disruptions remain.

  • Alert Begins: 31 Jul 2020 12:52 PM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 14 Aug 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Transport and business disruptions

Summary
Authorities in the Netherlands are maintaining restrictions introduced to combat the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as of July 31. Authorities have removed entry restrictions for travelers from EU and Schengen Area countries, and the UK. However, officials have issued specific travel advisories for certain areas in this bloc from which travelers are strongly advised to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival; as of July 31 these areas are Sweden; Bulgaria; Romania; Croatia; Segria, La Marina-Lugo, and Barcelona in Spain; Vale do Tejo in Portugal; Leicester in the UK; and Antwerp in Belgium.

Additionally, authorities previously removed removed entry restrictions for residents of Algeria, Australia, Georgia, Japan, Canada, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, and Uruguay. Residents of all other countries remain barred from entry, though exceptions are made for individuals with an essential function or need, such as health workers, freight workers, and diplomats; all such arrivals are required to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival.

As of July 31, authorities in the Netherlands have permitted most businesses and services to resume operation, provided they implement strict social distancing and hygiene requirements. Protective facemasks are mandatory on public transport and individuals must observe social distancing at all times where possible.

All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice in response to government reviews and may receive updates or extensions in the coming days.

Background and Analysis
The easing of measures in the Netherlands is similar to actions undertaken by other regional governments in recent days in response to the beginning of the summer tourist season, and lower infection rates of COVID-19. As countries relax blanket restrictions across Europe, authorities could begin to reintroduce sporadic, highly targeted measures in response to local COVID-19 outbreaks. Such measures could apply to neighborhoods or specific facilities, including schools, factories, or accommodation and office blocks. Mandatory social distancing procedures in public places and on public transport, as well as widespread voluntary “self-policing” by residents, will assist in reducing the potential for contagion, negating the necessity for a large-scale, blanket reintroduction of significant restrictions.

COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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