Government coronavirus advisors expect that foreign travel will be banned during the Christmas festivities because of the risk of spreading coronavirus.
Prime minister Mark Rutte told reporters on Tuesday that the current crisis will last well into December, but said it is still too early to say what the pandemic will mean for the Christmas holidays.
However, the government’s Outbreak Management Team said in a new report on Wednesday that in ‘anticipating little improvement in the epidemiological situation in the coming months’ it expects ‘a negative travel advice will apply for holidays abroad during the winter holiday period.’
‘Many hundreds’ of people returned from foreign summer holidays with Covid-19 and research showed only 27% of people who had been in a risky country went into quarantine on their return, the OMT said in its reasoning.
In addition, winter sports holidays provided added risks, including busy conditions waiting for ski lifts and in bars and cafes at the end of the day. Given that the situation outside the Netherlands is not likely to be less risky this winter, such foreign holidays are unlikely to be given the green light, the OMT said.
The organisation also says it hopes there will be a pan-European approach to keeping cafes and restaurants open, as well as cancelling parties and events.
The news will come as a blow to many international workers who traditionally travel to their home country for the winter holiday break.
Travel company umbrella group ANVR has also reacted angrily to the OMT report, saying the measure would be ‘incomprehensible’ and ‘beyond all proportion’.
‘Some destinations, such as the Canary Islands, are safer than the Netherlands,’ ANVR director Frnk Oostdam told broadcaster NOS. ‘We have been working for eight months to deal with the crisis in a responsible way and then we get this. We are extremely angry.’
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