New restrictions against Belgian travellers will ‘without a doubt’ be implemented
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    New restrictions against Belgian travellers will ‘without a doubt’ be implemented

    Credit: Belga

    After several countries have already issued new restrictions for travellers from Belgium in the past days, virologist Marc Van Ranst said that more countries will follow “without a doubt.”

    Travellers going from Belgium to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have to quarantine for 14 days before being allowed to move around, The Netherlands told its citizens not to travel to Antwerp, and Norway will reportedly announce a ‘code red’ for all of Belgium at the end of the week.

    These countries are not wrong to implement additional restrictions, according to Van Ranst, who said that others will “without a doubt” follow, he told Het Laatste Nieuws.

    “We have been informed by the Norwegians that it is possible that they will change their travel advice this week, but the decision has not been made yet,” Karl Lagatie, Foreign Affairs spokesperson, told The Brussels Times. “We have not received any indications from other governments, but there will, of course, be changes for some countries in the future,” he added.

    “Everything depends on which threshold they use,” Van Ranst said. “We would also give an orange or red colour to countries that are in the same situation as us. Antwerp would probably be red, the rest of the country orange,” Van Ranst added.

    As the situation is changing in Belgium, and in other countries as well, additional restrictions are very possible, according to Lagatie. “It can certainly not be ruled out that other countries will change their advice, but for the time being, there are no indications yet,” he added.

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    Despite suspicions earlier this week that the UK would quarantine travellers returning from Belgium starting from Thursday, Belgium’s Foreign Affairs Department confirmed that the country will not take additional measures “for now.”

    A senior government source told the BBC on Thursday that the numbers in Belgium would continue to be monitored for the moment.

    Belgium currently has 33.1 positive tests per 100,000 inhabitants over the past two weeks. This is partly due to the fact that Belgium is testing very well, but the figures have also become a political fact, according to Van Ranst.

    “Some countries, like Belgium, report the figures as they are. Others may be a bit more cautious, because tourism is more important to them, and they do not want to harm it,” he said.

    “Each country has a different threshold and a different algorithm to consider another country as dangerous. Often that works both ways,” Van Ranst said.

    “Countries for which you yourself have implemented travel restrictions will also look a bit more closely, and put you on their own list a bit faster. It is not only a scientific fact, it is sometimes also a diplomatic and political fact,” he added.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times