Virologist calls for coordinated approach to reopening Europe’s borders

Virologist calls for coordinated approach to reopening Europe’s borders
© Belga

The reopening of borders in Europe requires a coordinated approach at the continental level, otherwise there could be undesired competition between States, according to virologist Steven Van Gucht.

In any event, trips abroad need to be subject to conditions and care must be taken to ensure that the health situation in the country to be visited is as good as in Belgium, Van Gucht said in an interview on Saturday evening on the Flemish TV channel VTM.

“The figures need to be at least as good, the measures need to be similar and so, ideally, there should be a European tracing system,” all of which is still not the case, the virologist noted.

The European Commission presented last week a package of guidelines and recommendations to help member states gradually lift travel restrictions and allow tourism businesses to reopen, after months of lockdown, while respecting necessary health precautions.

A European tracing system, for example, would make it possible to know whether a Belgian coming back from a trip abroad has been in contact with people infected with the novel Coronavirus (Covid-19).

Van Gucht hopes States will not launch into a reopening race, which would lead to a type of competition between the same sectors in two different countries. “Being able to have a drink on the terrace in a neighbouring country could, in a way, be disloyal for the hospitality sector in Belgium,” he commented.

In the meantime, moves by other States to emerge from the Covid-19 crisis clearly does not leave Belgium’s authorities indifferent: the resumption of the Bundesliga, for example, has put a form of pressure on the National Security Council.

The Brussels Times

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