Only half of Belgians returning from red travel zones get tested

Only half of Belgians returning from red travel zones get tested
Credit: Belga

Despite the obligation to get tested for a possible coronavirus infection when returning to Belgium from a "red zone" abroad, only half of holidaymakers do it, according to official figures.

Making non-essential journeys to areas that are coloured red on the website of Belgium's Foreign Affairs Department is not allowed, and travellers returning from one of them are required to quarantine and get tested upon arrival in Belgium.

However, figures presented in the Parliamentary Health Committee by Federal Minister Philippe De Backer on Tuesday show that only one in two returning travellers follows the rules.

Additionally, there are large regional differences, as more people in Flanders are getting tested upon return than in Wallonia and Brussels.

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De Backer stressed the important role of regional contact tracing offices, who need to follow up on the people who have not yet been tested after one or two days, and contact them.

Less than 2% of the tests carried out on travellers returning from such a red zones were positive for the virus.

Earlier this week, however, the national Crisis Centre stressed that Belgians who are still planning on going abroad are always taking a risk in the current circumstances, no matter the colour of their travel destination.

“The number of coronavirus cases across Europe is still increasing, and there is a real chance that the colour code of your holiday destination will change during your stay,” spokesperson Yves Stevens said.

Maïthé Chini

The Brussels Times

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