Until yesterday, an orange (or red) travel advisory was issued worldwide, meaning the Foreign Office recommends that you only go there for necessary travel. But this is no longer the case, the ministry is again evaluating all countries separately.
150 infections per 100,000 inhabitants
What if some countries have changed their color code? The maxim is: a maximum of 150 infections per 14 days per 100,000 inhabitants. “In addition, sufficient tests must be carried out, that the numbers are reliable and that people come back with an infection from this country,” a spokesperson for the ministry said.
As a result, the color code of ten countries or territories has now been relaxed from orange to yellow. Finland, Ireland and Portugal, among others, are among them. But also Rwanda. Below is the list of countries to which you are now authorized to travel:
On social media, a lot of people joke that you can travel to Rwanda, but not to Germany or Belgium, for example. “I just booked a midweek trip to Rwanda,” someone says, and twitterer Frank jokes, “Luckily we can finally get back to Rwanda!”
‘They are well organized’
But it’s not at all surprising that you can get to Rwanda, says Africa correspondent Saskia Houttuin. They are doing very well there. “They are a shining example when it comes to tackling the pandemic in Africa.”
From the start, there was a clear approach and a strict set of measures in Rwanda around the pandemic. There was a lot of testing, they kept an orderly record of their infections and deaths, and they were disciplined in carrying out the measures, Houttuin says. “They also saw it at the European Council, the Council had previously recommended relaxation for Rwanda and the Netherlands are now following that advice.”
Rwanda wants to produce and distribute vaccines
Rwanda’s in-depth approach is now also reflected in the roll-out of the immunization program, in which Rwanda wants to play a pioneering role in Africa. “They use the Covax program, so the poorest countries can claim vaccines. Rwanda also wants to produce and distribute vaccines.”
Rwanda is doing very well, which is also successful because it has a very authoritarian regime and the people are docile, says Houttuin. “It is also a small country, with around 13 million inhabitants. So it is also possible to implement a plan.”
Burundi and Tanzania
The countries of Rwanda are doing much less well. Burundi and Tanzania, for example, took the pandemic much less seriously from the start, with the latter country no longer even performing tests. “Their presidents even died under suspicious circumstances, and there is strong evidence that it could have been covid.”
For Rwanda, it’s good that tourists can come back to the country so slowly, tourism is an important source of income, Houttuin knows that. “Mountain gorillas, mountains, nature, Rwanda is once again open to welcoming people”.
Test before you can enter the country
But this is not the case that the country will once again let in hordes of people at the same time. Those who come will be tested and will need to stay in a hotel before they can continue to travel with a negative test.
And what about the countries of the Netherlands? How is it going there? In France, the number of infections is around 400 per 100,000 inhabitants. It’s about 250 for Germany and 200 for Spain. By comparison, the Netherlands itself now has 565 infections per 100,000 population over a 14-day period. Much higher than Rwanda.