Travel rules and measures have been tightened in Belgium to try to control the continued spread of the new variant of Covid-19. Testing capacity will be increased at Brussels and Charleroi airports, as well as Brussels-Midi station.
The Consultative Committee met via web conference on Wednesday, December 30th, and stated that the number of contagion cases was currently lower in Belgium than in other countries. The evolution of confirmed cases is slightly better in Belgium than abroad. There are clear indications that a new variant of Covid-19, which is significantly more contagious, is present in the UK.
To prevent international passenger traffic from further accelerating the spread of the new variant, the Consultative Committee has decided to modify travel rules. The new measures are:
- Residents of Belgium 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 that will allow them to go to a test center. At Brussels Airport, the testing capacity will be increased to allow travelers arriving in Belgium to be tested. At Charleroi Airport and Brussels-Midi station, the test capacity will also be implemented.
- Reinforced controls for returns from abroad. An effort will be made to strengthen the compliance of these measures. The Passenger Location Form is mandatory, as well as the negative test for non-residents.
- 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 quarantine themselves. 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. There can be exceptions: critical functions in essential sectors, students taking exams, residents returning fro abroad for professional reasons.
These measures come in addition to the decisions previously taken by the Consultative Committee which aimed to have a rigorous control of the Passenger Locator Form and, since 25 December 2020, a negative test presented by non-residents staying in Belgium.