The 5 most frequently asked questions about the coronavirus at Schiphol

Everyone’s heard about it by now: the coronavirus outbreak that has emerged in China. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the outbreak an international emergency. Because so many different nationalities come together at Schiphol – including Chinese travellers – we’ve been asked all kinds of questions. In this blog post, we’d like to answer some of those questions. Most importantly, we always follow the advice published by the authorities.

1. How many flight services are there between Schiphol and China?
In an ordinary week, more than 100 passenger services fly to and from China. KLM decided to cancel flights to Bejing and Shanghai until 15th of March and to other mainland Chinese destinations untill the end of March. China Southern and China Eastern are still carrying passengers to and from mainland China, however they do so in a lower frequency. This means that roughly 20 of those weekly passenger flights remain.

2. Is Schiphol taking any measures?
We are keeping a close eye on developments, in cooperation with bodies such as the Municipal Health Service (GGD) and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), and we follow the recommendations those bodies make. We have developed our own plans and scenarios, including the actions that should be taken in the event that an infected person arrives at Schiphol from another country. These scenarios form part of the full range of preparations currently being made in the Netherlands. On the recommendation of the GGD, we also advise staff and travellers to take measures for general hygiene (page in Dutch), just as you would to protect yourself against other flu viruses. Passengers arriving from China will see advice from the RIVM/GGD displayed on the screens by the baggage belts.

3. Will travellers at Schiphol be screened for the virus?
The government has indicated that traveller screenings at Dutch airports are ‘not an appropriate measure’. At present, screening travellers for fever would primarily detect cases of cold or flu. If travellers arrive at Schiphol displaying ‘corona-like’ symptoms, this will trigger the standard procedures for infectious diseases. These procedures are coordinated by the GGD.

4. Should I wear a face mask?
According to the national guidelines, the only people who need to wear masks are medical staff during their contact with patients. They only need to wear masks if they suspect that a patient is infected with the new coronavirus. That situation would involve a passenger who has a fever or problems with their airways, and who has been to Wuhan in the past 14 days.

5. Are there any restrictions on travellers?
Some airlines have cancelled all flight services to and from China. In addition, travellers who have been to China’s Hubei Province in the past 14 days should be aware that local authorities may refuse them permission to enter the country. Travellers who hold a Chinese passport issued in Hubei will need to take this into account. We recommend you ask your airline which countries currently have this policy in place.