Netherlands lifts quarantine guidelines for (most) visitors from Sweden

Most travellers from Sweden are no longer being urged to self-quarantine when they visit the Netherlands, after Dutch authorities lifted their restrictions for all regions except one.

Netherlands lifts quarantine guidelines for (most) visitors from Sweden
Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport. Photo: AP Photo/Peter Dejong

The Netherlands now classifies almost all of Sweden as 'yellow', with the exception of the Västra Götaland region which remains 'orange', meaning travellers from there are strongly advised to quarantine.

But anyone from Sweden's other 20 regions are no longer told to spend 14 days in quarantine when visiting the Netherlands, and Dutch residents visiting Sweden don't need to isolate on returning.

Self-quarantine can be done at home or a hotel. Quarantine is only “strongly advised”, and people visiting for certain reasons, for example urgent travel for family reasons such a funeral, are not asked to quarantine.

Face masks are mandatory on public transport in the Netherlands, but there is otherwise no general face mask requirement in the country. However, anyone visiting should be aware that local authorities are allowed to set their own rules, and anyone over the age of 13 who fail to respect the rules could receive a fine of €95.

There is no face mask requirement in Sweden, although some venues – for example most airports and the Karolinska Institutet university – have introduced their own guidelines on face masks. All visitors are expected to follow health and safety guidelines, such as keeping a distance and avoiding public transport if possible.

Sweden's foreign ministry's advice against non-essential travel to the Netherlands is currently in place until August 26th, although it could in theory be scrapped before then or extended. This is not mandatory, but disregarding the advice could affect the validity of your Swedish travel insurance.

The UK is one of several countries that still require Swedish travellers to self-isolate. This is mandatory for nearly everyone travelling from Sweden to the UK (read a list of exemptions here), and in England you can be fined £1,000 if you fail to do so or even up to £3,200 if you do not provide an accurate contact detail declaration.

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Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”