Over two years after direct trains started running from London to Amsterdam, travellers will finally be able to catch trains in the opposite direction – though no date has yet been revealed for when they may begin.
Since Eurostar extended its London-Brussels service to the Dutch capital, passengers travelling in the opposite direction have had to change trains in the Belgian capital.
A treaty signed in Brussels by France, Belgium and the Netherlands will allow UK Border Force staff to be stationed in Amsterdam and Rotterdam.
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These “juxtaposed border checks” will enable travellers to be cleared for travel through the Channel Tunnel to London.
The security search will also take place in the Netherlands.
The home secretary, Priti Patel, said: “This important treaty shows that while we have left the European Union, our links with Europe are stronger than ever.
“It will enable vital security and immigration checks to be carried out in the Netherlands, protecting the UK’s border and providing faster and more efficient journeys for passengers.”
The transport secretary, Grant Shapps, said: “As we begin to emerge from one of the greatest international challenges of our time, we’re working hard to support the recovery of international transport and tourism sectors.”
The Dutch state secretary for infrastructure, Stientje van Veldhoven, said: “The new direct train service enables us to travel from Amsterdam to London in just over four hours.
“It’s fast and convenient, and without the hassle of disembarking in Brussels for border and security checks.”
Previous deadlines for Amsterdam-London trains in December 2019 and April 2020 have been missed.
Mark Smith, the founder of the Seat61.com international rail travel website said: “This will finally allow Eurostar to compete on one of Europe’s busiest air routes.
“The direct London to Amsterdam trains have already proved even more popular than Eurostar expected, and with room to move, free WiFi and city-centre arrival the fully bi-directional service is likely to take a significant share of that market.”
London-Amsterdam services were suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, and will resume on Thursday, 9 July.
Dubai: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has urged the need to remove travel restrictions imposed on developing countries calling them ‘discriminatory’.
Imran called on the World Health Organisation (WHO) to play its role in removing coronavirus related travel restrictions for Pakistan and other developing countries. He asked the WHO Director General to engage member states to remove COVID-19 related travel restrictions and work towards a data driven system of non-discriminatory travel rules.
Imran’s demand comes during a video conference with WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday.
Prime Minister Imran observed that travel restrictions imposed by the developed countries in the wake of COVID-19 could further exacerbate economic difficulties of developing countries struggling to mitigate adverse economic impact of the pandemic.
Currently, Pakistanis are not allowed to enter UK and European Union countries due to grave COVID-19 situation in Pakistan.
Imran, however, appreciated the support extended by WHO to the international community including Pakistan to fight COVID-19.
He also highlighted Pakistan’s strategy of deploying scientific and data driven interventions as well as rapid upgrades of healthcare facilities while attempting to maintain a balance between life and livelihood that had yielded positive results with a current downward trajectory in the spread of pandemic.
WHO hails Pakistan’s efforts
The WHO director general said that the WHO was working to suggest Covid-19 related travel guidelines to help the international community in making these decisions.
“WHO is glad to see that cases in Pakistan have been in decline since early June & we appreciate your strong surveillance efforts to fight the pandemic,” tweeted Dr Tedros.
As of July 6, coronavirus tally in Pakistan stands at 234,498 cases with total 4839 deaths and 135,000 recoveries.
British High Commissioner
Meanwhile, the British High Commissioner to Pakistan has commended Pakistan’s efforts in addressing COVID-19 challenge. “The way Pakistan had addressed the COVID-19 challenge was really commendable and the country was a role model in this context,” said British High Commissioner to Pakistan Christian Turner, in a meeting with Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz on Monday. Turner said effective communication and care were the real weapons in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic, reported the APP.
Tourism sector opened
Earlier, Prime Minister Imran announced the reopening of tourism industry in the country and allowed all overseas Pakistanis to return home after the National Coordination Committee gave the go-ahead to self-quarantine policy for Covid-19 patients among them.
“We are opening tourism, because these three to four months are important for the people associated with tourism,” he announced but warned people to follow the SOPs devised by the government.
Imran said that the coronavirus would continue to spread and like other nations, Pakistanis would have to live with it at least until the year-end. “Even the richest countries have come to the conclusion that the virus will spread and our death toll will also rise. My appeal to you is please be a responsible nation, because we have to prevent the spread of virus and also avoid poverty and misery,” he added.
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