Anyone looking for passengers from the country where the dreaded type of coronavirus originated in Schiphol on Wednesday morning should do their best. Finally there is Craig (53) from Newcastle, a man of few words. When asked about the purpose of his trip, he replied: “Business.” When asked where he works: “On a boat.” For his job at the port of Rotterdam, he took two PCR tests: one in England, required by his employer, and another in Schiphol, required by the Dutch government. “Both are negative, of course.”
“In addition to Covid, we have some kind of new problem,” Prime Minister Rutte said during a press conference on the new mutant on Tuesday evening. To combat local outbreaks, extensive testing is being carried out in Lansingerland municipality and Charlois County in Rotterdam. But while we’re scanning here, the tap to the UK is still on, according to critics. Why don’t we turn off the tap?
In Schiphol it turns out that the open distance of the faucet is not that bad. Sliding doors to the empty arrival hall open essentially for pilots, flight attendants and ground staff. There are a few passengers on each flight staring at the signs looking for the next mode of transport or a cup of coffee. There are few passengers from England.
Ackermann (54) travels to work. He just got back from an oil rig off the coast of Aberdeen in Scotland. Since he was given an exemption for his work, he did not have to take the test on his return to the Netherlands, unlike other passengers. “When I got to Aberdeen I had to get tested. There I slept one night in a hotel and the next day I went to the oil rig in the morning. You live in some kind of quarantine there anyway. Moreover, the numbers in the north of the UK are lower than what It is in the south.
Ackermann understands criticism of current policy well. The Dutch government urgently invites you to travel abroad only if it is absolutely necessary. But necessity turns out to be a flexible concept,” he says. In addition, the national government website has a long list of exceptions that do not have to provide negative test results.
Meanwhile, concerns are growing in the Dutch cabin crew association. The flight attendants and flight attendants union wants a guarantee from KLM that all passengers have tested negative and that they are properly screened.
No food and drink
Another point of discussion is the service that KLM still offers on flights to Great Britain. “This variant is more contagious than the ‘ordinary’ virus,” a spokesperson said. In fact, each contact moment is one too many. Moreover, in this case it comes to flights of one hour with a maximum of two hours. Guests understand that it is wise not to exceed the seats Food or drink on such short trips.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines announced Wednesday morning that no flights will be canceled for the time being due to the virus. “We are following government policy and as long as there is no ban, we will continue to fly,” a government spokesperson said by phone. KLM has a discouragement policy for private travelers. The airline alerts potential travelers to government policy and does not advertise flights to destinations with a red or orange symbol. The spokesman said flights to and from the UK are primarily essential for aid workers, diplomats, ship crews and cargo.
Public holidays in London
Sam Davies, 19, does not fall into any of these categories. The economics student at Maastricht University went to London during vacation to visit his family. “I will understand if they have banned flights from England,” he says. “Although people who come to Amsterdam only for coffee shops will now stay at home anyway.” There were about fifty passengers on his flight.
Upon arriving in Holland, Davies had to take the test, although he had previously done so in England just to be sure. The Briton is surprised that the Dutch government does not strictly monitor that travelers are quarantined after their arrival. In England, every incoming traveler is required to submit a form showing their place of residence. This makes it easier for the government to keep track of who is where.
Davis has also been placed in a 10-day quarantine. ‘It’s not cute, but it should be. I hadn’t already planned anything else.