Local authorities in Amsterdam and Rotterdam announced on Thursday, July 30, that face masks will be compulsory to be worn by individuals in certain public places from Wednesday, August 5. The Dutch government ruled out making the measure compulsory nationwide, although local authorities have been granted permission to bring in regional measures.
Health authorities in Amsterdam announced that the measure will be imposed in De Wallen (Red-Light District), the shopping streets Kalverstraat and Nieuwendijk, and in the markets at Plein '40-'45 and Albert Cuypstraat. In Rotterdam, face masks will be compulsory in the shopping districts of Lijnbaan, Meent, Binnenwegplein, and Coolsingel, as well as the Visserijplein, Afrikaanderplein, and Binnenrotte markets. According to media sources, the measure will only be applied at markets on market days. It will also be mandatory in the Alexandrium and Zuidplein shopping centers between 06:00 and 22:00 (local time). Those found to be violating the rule will be fined. Individuals under the age of 13 are exempt from wearing face masks nationwide.
Face masks remain mandatory on trams, buses, taxis, ferries, and other public transport, unless exempt. Buses, trams, trains, and metros are now able to operate at full capacity. A ban on all major public events, including professional sports and music festivals, remains in effect until September 1, due to COVID-19 concerns. Social distancing should continue to be observed at all times, allowing at least a 1.5m (5ft) interpersonal distance (for individuals over the age of 18), apart from family members and those from the same household.
The Dutch government adopted the European Union's recommendation to lift its travel ban for residents from a number of countries from July 1; the full list of which can be found here. Non-EU nationals from countries not listed remain barred from entering the country for non-essential travel. Travelers are required to complete a health screening form prior to departure. At Schiphol Airport (AMS), travelers over the age of 13 are required to wear a face mask at check-in desks, security checks, and boarding areas. The measure is also in place at Eindhoven Airport (EIN) and Rotterdam The Hague Airport (RTM).
As of July 31, there have been 54,249 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Netherlands and 6166 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently, and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.
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