The Dutch government has once again categorized South Africa under the list of COVID-19 high-risk countries, after the same had been categorized as a very high-risk area less than two weeks ago, on January 16.
The decision was announced on Friday, January 28, and is set to become effective the day after.
“This means that travelers from South Africa will no longer have to quarantine when entering the Netherlands. Travelers will still need to produce 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 explains that fully vaccinated travelers from South Africa who show proof of vaccination with one of the vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) or the World Health Organization (WHO) are exempt from the obligation to present negative test results.
So far, the vaccines approved by EMA are Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Janssen, and Novavax. The WHO, on the other hand, has also approved Sinopharm, Sinovac, and Covaxin.
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Aside from South Africa, the obligation to quarantine has also been removed for travelers from three more southern African nations – Eswatini, Lesotho, and Namibia.
On January 18, SchengenVisaInfo.com reported that the Netherlands had reclassified South Africa as a very high-risk zone without a variant of 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 Africans were finally exempt from the entry ban, yet they had to quarantine upon arrival in the country. Previously on December 23, the Netherlands had removed the flight ban introduced for eight Southern African, including here South Africa, at the end of November, due to the spread of the Omicron virus variant in the region.
The decision to remove South Africa, Eswatini, Lesotho, and Namibia from the list of very high-risk areas comes at a time when the Netherlands is facilitating other travel restrictions as well.
Starting from February 2, Wednesday, travelers from all world countries who have received a COVID-19 booster dose, including those from very high-risk areas, will be permitted to enter the country quarantine-free. Travelers must have taken the booster shot at least seven days before the trip to the Netherlands in order for him/her to be able to escape quarantine.
>> Netherlands to Lift Quarantine Requirement for Travelers Who Receive a Booster Dose
Whereas from February 1, the Netherlands has warned it will shorten the validity of the vaccination certificates from 12 to nine months only.