Flanders punishes ignoring quarantine with €4,000 fine and prison

Flanders punishes ignoring quarantine with €4,000 fine and prison
Credit: Belga

Travellers returning to Belgium from high-risk areas who do not respect the mandatory quarantine will risk a fine of up to €4,000 and up to six months in prison, according to the cabinet of Flemish Health Minister Wouter Beke.

Belgium will introduce a system with colour codes, in which areas will be labelled green, orange or red. A travel ban will be issued for areas labelled as "red zones," which are considered very high-risk areas. People returning from such an area are required to be tested and quarantined on arrival.

Returnees ignoring that obligation will receive the penalties included in the Flemish Prevention Decree, which now only applies to those who are already infected, Beke's cabinet told Het Laatste Nieuws. The decree will soon be adapted to include everyone who returns from so-called red zones, the cabinet said.

However, as the legal arrangements concerning quarantine are a regional competence, these punishments will only be applicable in Flanders. Brussels and Wallonia have not yet taken or announced a decision, reports RTL.

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However, politicians realise that checks are extremely difficult, if not impossible. The free movement of people in the Schengen zone makes it impossible to check who has been where, for example by car.

"There is an important moral responsibility on the part of the people themselves," Beke said earlier, calling on people's "civility."

Which areas will receive which colours is not yet clear, as the federal evaluation cell (CELEVAL) that has to draw up the list, still has to meet.

Maïthé Chini

The Brussels Times

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