Europe is working on better coordination of travel advice and nuance code orange

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs may refine travel advice for outside Europe. The advice now is to travel outside Europe as little as possible and all countries outside the EU are orange.

Germany refines that advice after 1 October, says Dirk Jan Nieuwenhuis of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the CCeit Radio 1 Journaal. This means that each country will be checked to see whether it is safe or not. These advices are coordinated in Europe. But the general advice remains: dont travel outside Europe

However, these negative travel recommendations must be qualified, says Nieuwenhuis. It may be that all countries outside Europe are on orange because of the local corona infections, but some countries also do not want to receive Dutch nationals because of the chance that the corona will be taken with them In those cases the RIVM advises against travelling to such a country.

In theory, it is possible that countries will turn yellow after 1 October, but at the moment there is no indication that this will happen soon, according to a spokesman for the ministry. It is being monitored, we are always looking to see if we can scale down

Different travel advice

There is a lot of criticism from the tourism industry about the rapidly changing travel advice provided by corona, which varies from country to country. For example, the Dutch government advised the Dutch to leave the Greek islands, while the German government has still not given any negative travel advice and German tourists can therefore stay there. The travel industry wants all European countries to give the same advice.

Within Europe we are looking at whether this harmonisation could be improved: But public health and borders are a national competence, that is what we have agreed in Europe, says Nieuwenhuis. We can see that this unprecedented corona crisis is forcing us to cooperate and coordinate more in that area. We are in contact with the Germans, the English, the Belgians and the Scandinavian countries about their travel advice, but in the end it remains a national consideration of each government what they advise their citizens

Distinction

The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) designated the Greek islands as a high-risk area at the beginning of this week after many infections were found among Dutch people who had been there. Unlike Great Britain, for example, the Netherlands makes no distinction between the large and small islands. This led to a storm of criticism from the tourist industry.

Foreign Affairs explained the assessment on Twitter: Infections also take place on smaller islands, but because of limited testing capacity there, people get tested when they return to the mainland. These infections are registered on the mainland and are not reflected in the island figures In addition, the Ministry advises the Greek Government to quarantine its own citizens if they come from a Greek island. That advice applies to all islands.

The Ministry emphasises that there are nuances within Europe at regional level where it can be done. In Greece, therefore, the mainland turned out to be yellow, but of the Greek islands the RIVM cannot say that it is safe

Block: harmonisation desired

Minister Blok acknowledges that different countries unfortunately apply different criteria. He agrees that more harmonisation is desirable. I am in favour of that, but always from the point of view that peoples health must come first. And it is difficult to reach agreement with 27 countries

Blok points out that, for example, it has already been possible to reach joint agreements on entry bans from outside Europe. He understands the concerns of travellers and the travel industry, but stresses that travel advice must sometimes be adapted.

Thats not because we like it. It is because the number of infections is increasing in such a country or because travel restrictions are being introduced. It is our job to inform the Dutch honestly about this