Schiphol airport Holland

South Africans won’t be able to fly to Holland for at least a month starting this weekend. Image: Adobe Stock

COVID-19 travel update: Netherlands to close borders to South Africans

Nervous about the new virus strains, the country will ban flights from South Africa, the UK and several other destinations for one month.

Schiphol airport Holland

South Africans won’t be able to fly to Holland for at least a month starting this weekend. Image: Adobe Stock

The Netherlands is imposing the travel ban on flights from Saturday 23 January in one of its toughest moves yet to limit infections.

The country is experiencing a surge in cases from the new COVID-19 variants which emerged in South Africa and the United Kingdom in late 2020. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has announced his government will be implementing fresh measures to curb the rate of infection in the Netherlands.

“This is a critical moment for national security and public health,” Rutte said at a press conference on 20 January, as quoted by Health Industries News.

“We have to brace ourselves again now that more contagious variants are coming our way. The experts are warning of a third wave and we must take that seriously.” 


Rutte said the rate of infections in the Netherlands did not appear to be declining despite current measures the government had in place.

He said one out of every 10 COVID-19 infections in the Netherlands was attributable to new COVID-19 variants from the UK and South Africa, forcing his government to take further action.


The Netherlands will implement flight bans from countries where there is a high prevalence of the SARS-CoV-2 strain of the virus.

There is a high risk of imported transmission by allowing entry to travellers from countries where the new variants are common.


Peru Covid-19
Peru is one of the South American countries also blocked from flying to Holland. Image: Adobe Stock

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines operates four flights a week to both Johannesburg and Cape Town. The airline will terminate these routes for one month, from 23 January, to comply with the Dutch government’s directive.

Besides South Africa and the UK, the flight ban applies to passenger flights from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guyana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.


A national curfew will also be implemented in the Netherlands from 23 January, the New York Post has reported. It is the first time since World War 2 that the country will be under a curfew.

People will not be permitted to leave their homes, with the exception of urgent or essential needs. The curfew will be in place between 20:30 and 04:30 for a period of one month from 23 January.

The Dutch government has also issued a travel advisory to its citizens to avoid all non-essential travel for the period up to 31 March.