Changed testing and quarantine policy: these rules apply from today

Changed testing and quarantine policy: these rules apply from today
Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

As the Belgian authorities decided to relax the testing and quarantine measures for schools as well as the general population last week, these are the rules that take effect today.

These measures only apply to people who have had a high-risk contact. For anyone else, the rules remain unchanged.

In practice, this means that returning travellers still have to get tested according to the current rules (here) and that people experiencing symptoms of an infection – whether fully, partially or non-vaccinated – should still complete the Self Assessment Testing (SAT) form to check whether they need to get a PCR test.

The general adult population and secondary school pupils

From today, fully vaccinated people – meaning those who either already received a booster dose or received their last shot of the “basic vaccination” up to five months ago – will no longer have to quarantine following a high-risk contact. They will not have to undergo a PCR test either.

Those who have not yet received a booster dose or received their second dose more than five months ago will still have to quarantine following a high-risk contact, but for a shorter period. In principle, they still have to quarantine for seven days, but they are now allowed to leave after four days if they take a daily negative self-test until day seven. They no longer need a PCR test to end quarantine either.

For unvaccinated people, the rules will remain the same: they have to quarantine for ten days, but are allowed to leave after seven days if they take daily negative self-tests until day ten, and strictly apply all preventive measures.

Regardless of vaccination status, everyone is asked to be very careful after a high-risk contact, by teleworking as much as possible, avoiding contact with at-risk people, and wearing an FFP2 mask if possible.

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Nursery and primary school children

From today, a class (pupils and teachers) must go into quarantine as soon as four pupils (or 25% of the class) are infected. The quarantine period will be shortened from seven days to only five days.

When face masks are used systematically and correctly in well-ventilated classes in primary school, the children in that class are considered low-risk contacts. In well-ventilated classrooms in nursery schools, children are also considered as low-risk contacts.

Additionally, when a high-risk contact has taken place outside the classroom, and a child has to go into quarantine as a result, that child is allowed to leave quarantine to go to school. After some initial doubt over the weekend, the Health and Education clarified that this is not the case if the high-risk contact in question is someone in the child’s household, such as a sibling or a parent.

These measures remain in force until the carnival break (Monday 28 February to Sunday 6 March). At the end of January, an interim assessment will be made because a large group of children aged between 5 and 11 will have had the opportunity to be vaccinated by then.


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