Brunssum, The Netherlands, Thursday, 04 June 2020
The NATO-supported Strategic Airlift International Solution (SALIS) executed a mission to Wroclaw, Poland, on 03 June, bringing 75 tonnes of equipment to Poland to help stem the spread of COVID-19. The AN-124 flight delivered face shields, a mask-making machine, protective clothing, and medical gloves. Requested by Poland's Ministry of National Defence, this marks the fifth SALIS mission carried out in 2020 to support Poland's efforts to fight the Coronavirus pandemic. In total, Poland has airlifted some 300 tonnes of medical supplies through this programme. Military forces from across the Alliance have carried out more than 350 flights to transport medical personnel and over 1000 tonnes of equipment to date. They have helped to build around 100 field hospitals, more than 25,000 treatment beds, and deployed thousands of medical personnel in support of civilian efforts. The NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) manages the SALIS programme as part of NATO's strategic airlift capabilities. The SALIS programme provides assured access to five large Ukrainian AN-124 aircraft.
As part of the regular rotation cycle for the NATO enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroups in the Baltic States and Poland, this week Polish soldiers set off for Latvia to serve in the Canadian-led eFP Battlegroup Latvia. The farewell ceremony was held in the garrison town of Orzysz in northeastern Poland in accordance with the restrictions imposed to prevent spreading of COVID-19. In addition to Canadian and Polish, contingents from Albania, the Czech Republic, Italy, Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain serve in eFP Battlegroup Latvia.
Last night, the Dutch Prime Minister announced further relaxations on the COVID-19 restrictions for the Netherlands. Among others, these include:
- As of 15 June, travel advisories for some European countries go from orange to yellow meaning that the risk to health in these countries is comparable to that in the Netherlands and that these countries are happy to receive Dutch tourists. The countries concerned are: Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Estonia, Italy, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Portugal, Slovenia, and Czech Republic.
- Also as of 15 June, Dutch tourists may also go on holiday to the Caribbean part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (Bonaire, St Eustatius, Saba, Curaçao, Aruba and St Maarten).
- Travel advisories will remain orange for three European countries: Sweden, the United Kingdom and Denmark. This means that travelling there is only recommended if it is absolutely essential. On return to the Netherlands, travellers are strongly advised to self-isolate at home for 2 weeks.
- A number of countries have yet to decide when to lift the barriers for Dutch tourists. The expectation is that the following countries will decide in the coming weeks: Austria, Cyprus, Finland, France, Greece Hungary Iceland, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Malta, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, Slovakia, and Switzerland.
- In order to limit the risk of a new outbreak as much as possible, travelling outside Europe is not recommended. Travel advisories for countries outside Europe and outside the Caribbean part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands will therefore remain orange for the time being.
- Foreign tourists coming to the Netherlands from countries where the risk to health is either comparable to or lower than that of the Netherlands can visit the country this summer. They must of course follow all the rules in place in the Netherlands to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.
- The Schengen area and the United Kingdom have closed their external borders to people from outside the EU whose journey is not essential. This ban will be in place up to 15 June (inclusive) but will be evaluated at EU level before that date.
- Primary schools in the Netherlands will be fully operational from Monday 08 June.