Vaccinated visitors from third countries planning to travel to the Netherlands may soon be subject to milder travel restrictions, as the country’s government is discussing such a possibility.

Besides, the country may soon lift its advice not to travel to many countries due to the current COVID-19 situation, unless for essential reasons, as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is working on such a plan, a spokesperson told De Telegraaf, reports.

“The virus is not going away. You cannot keep the world locked up, and we recognize the importance of travel,” the Ministry spokesperson pointed out, as reported by De Telegraaf.

“We understand the unrest in the travel world and are looking for a solution – the world can’t stay locked, but passenger safety and Dutch public health must be guaranteed,” the spokespersons told the Dutch newspaper.

However, it is still unclear how the new system would work, as the policy will not be implemented any time soon.

On September 4, the Dutch government started to abolish some of its policies applied until that date as a preventive measure imposed to halt the further spread of the virus. Since the exact date, the country’s government lifted the “variant countries” terms for territories considered as a variant of concern, using instead only the terms as orange or red for countries highly affected by the virus.

Such a decision means that vaccinated travellers from territories that have reported a large number of COVID-19 infections are no longer urged to get tested for COVID-19 before returning to the Dutch territory.

According to the figures published by the World Health Organization, a total of 1,961,585 people have tested positive for the Coronavirus up to this point, while 18,055 have died.

Previously, the Dutch government said that some of the restrictions imposed to stop the spread of the virus and its new strains could be lifted on September 20; however, the planned date is likely to be postponed.

In this regard, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that as long as the infection rate and the number of COVID-19 patients in the country’s hospitals remain under control, some of the current restrictions could be lifted.

At present, the Netherlands is among European countries that keep in place the toughest restrictions imposed as a response to the recent surge in the number of infections recorded in other countries.

Recently, authorities in the Netherlands imposed stricter entry restrictions for arrivals from the US, following the EU Council recommendation.

In this regard, the Dutch government stressed that vaccinated travellers from the US must undergo a ten-day compulsory quarantine upon their arrival in the Netherlands. However, authorities clarified that the period of quarantine could be shortened if travellers test negative for the virus on the fifth day.

The residents of seven more third countries will face additional entry restrictions when attempting to enter Germany after the German Robert Koch Institute has added these countries to its list of high-risk areas regarding the Coronavirus pandemic.

On Friday, August 3, the RKI – which is an agency subordinate to the Federal Ministry of Health, responsible for disease control and prevention – has published the new list of countries and territories considered high-risk areas by the German authorities, including the following in this list:

  • Albania
  • Azerbaijan
  • Guatemala
  • Japan
  • The Palestinian Territories
  • Serbia
  • Sri Lanka

The list of high-risk areas was expanded with these countries, after all of them marked increasing COVID-19 number within the last weeks. Data by World Health Organization shows that in the last 24 hours, 17,456 cases have been detected in Japan alone, which is home to a population of 126.3 million.

The decision, which will become effective on Sunday, September 5, means that all visitors from these countries who are eligible to enter Germany, who are aged 12 and older, are obliged to present vaccination certificates, or test results, upon entry. They are also obliged to register at before arriving in Germany and carry proof of registration with them when reaching the country.

In addition, when entering the Federal Republic of Germany after a stay in a foreign high-risk area or virus variant area, special registration, proof and quarantine requirements must be observed,” the RKI notes in its most recent update of the high-risk areas.

At the same time, it calls attention to the fact that due to the frequently changing situation in regards to the Coronavirus pandemic, “it may be necessary to designate new high-risk areas and virus variant areas at very short notice.”

Last week, on August 24, RKI had added the Greek islands of Crete and Tinos to the high-risk list. Throughout last month, other countries as Thailand, North Macedonia, Morocco and Montenegro have also become part of this list.

>> Who Can Travel to Germany This Summer & What Are the Rules

Currently, non-vaccinated travellers can enter only from the following third countries: Armenia, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Hong Kong, Jordan, Macao, Moldova, New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Ukraine.

However, even travellers from high-risk areas are permitted to enter Germany if they are fully vaccinated with one of the vaccines accepted by the German authorities as valid proof of immunity.

>> Germany Permits Entry for Travellers Jabbed With 5 COVID-19 Vaccines, Including Covishield

Germany currently is among the EU countries with the highest rates of COVID-19, alongside Spain, France, Portugal, Greece, Ireland, Lithuania and Latvia. Data by World Health Organization shows that Germany has reported 84.8 new cases per day within the last seven days per 100,000 residents, while France 143.85, Spain 80.63, and Portugal 135.01.

In the last 24 hours, on the other hand, Germany has recorded 14,251 new cases, bringing the total number of cases recorded since

The Health Ministry on Tuesday recommended new travel restrictions for Israelis, which would ban travel to seven high-risk countries including India, and force even vaccinated travelers to enter quarantine upon their return to Israel.

The ministry was also seeking to delay the launch of Israel’s tourism program by another month and force non-citizens entering Israel from the specified highly infected countries to self-isolate in quarantine hotels.

In the face of an insidious new COVID variant devastating India, the Health Ministry has recommended the government divide countries into two groups: Level 1 and high-risk Level 2.

Get The Times of Israel’s Daily Edition by email and never miss our top stories

Free Sign Up

In his proposal, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein asked the government to ban travel to Level 2 countries, and to require all travelers returning to Israel from those countries to quarantine for two weeks, regardless of whether they are vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19.

Furthermore, foreigners permitted to travel from Level 2 countries to Israel will be forced to isolate at government-run COVID hotels, according to the ministry’s recommendations.

The government will debate the ministry’s proposal in a cabinet meeting, the date of which was not announced.

A patient breathes with the help of oxygen provided by a Gurdwara, Sikh place of worship, inside a car in New Delhi, India, April 24, 2021. (Altaf Qadri/AP)

So far, Israel has issued a travel warning for seven countries: India, Ukraine, Ethiopia, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico and Turkey.

All seven will be considered Level 2 countries if the ministry’s recommendations come into effect. And all travelers who have visited Level 2 countries in the 14 days prior to entering Israel will be subjected to new isolation rules.

The ministry said it will determine which countries receive a Level 2 designation based on criteria established by its Information and Knowledge Center. Criteria will take into account variables such as the number of Israelis arriving from countries considered high risk, and evidence of the presence of coronavirus variants there.

This list will be updated every two weeks, and the ministry will announce which countries they are considering adding ahead of time, so travelers can prepare accordingly.

For Level 1 countries — most of the world — there will be no change in policy.

Orit Farkash-Hacohen. (Yanai Yechiel)

These proposed travel restrictions come as Israel plans to reopen its borders to tourists in a program starting late May. The Health Ministry has recommended delaying the launch of the program by another month.

But on Tuesday, the same day the ministry issued its recommendations, Tourism Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen broadcasted that steps were in place to welcome organized tourist groups and open Israel’s tourism economy, according to Channel 12 News.

Vaccinated tourist groups are set to be allowed into Israel starting May 23, as long as they provide a negative PCR test before travel and a serological test upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport shows they have antibodies.

Israelis take part in a gay pride rally