Belgium strengthens travel rules: compulsory quarantine and test after a stay in a red zone

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Belgium has tightened up the travel rules in order to counter the continued spread of the new variant of COVID-19. Testing capacity will be increased at Brussels and Charleroi airports and Brussels-Midi station.

The Consultative Committee which met electronically on Wednesday noted that the number of contaminations was currently lower in Belgium than in other countries. Likewise, the evolution of the number of confirmed cases is more favourable in Belgium than abroad. In addition, there are serious indications of a new variant of Covid-19 which is significantly more contagious, circulating mainly in the UK at the moment.

To prevent international passenger traffic from further accelerating the spread of COVID-19, the Consultative Committee has decided to toughen travel rules as follows:

  1. Mandatory quarantine after a stay of more than 48 hours in a red zone. All stays in a red zone will now be considered high risk contacts. As of 31 December 2020, any person (residents and non-residents) returning to Belgium after a stay of at least 48 hours in a red zone must therefore be placed in quarantine. The quarantine can only end with a negative PCR test performed on the seventh day of quarantine. This measure is currently in effect until January 15. In only a few cases, there can be exceptions (critical functions in essential sectors, students taking exams, residents returning fro abroad for professional reasons).
  2. PCR test on return to Belgium, on the first and seventh day. Residents returning from a red zone and having stayed there for more than 48 hours must be tested on the first day and the seventh day of the quarantine. From January 2, 2021, people will receive an SMS on their return that will allow them to come to a test centre. At Brussels Airport, the testing capacity will be further increased to allow travellers arriving in Belgium to be tested voluntarily from the outset. At Charleroi Airport and Brussels-Midi station, the test capacity will be developed.
  3. Reinforced controls for returns from abroad. A particular effort will be made to strengthen the control of compliance with these measures in the context of cross-border traffic, in particular the completion of the Passenger Location Form and the mandatory negative test that non-residents must present.

These stricter measures come on top of the decisions of the Consultative Committee which provided in particular for a more rigorous control of the Passenger Locator Form and, since 25 December 2020, a negative test to be presented by non-residents staying in our country.

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