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Belgium in Brief: One Step Closer to Travel Plans

Credit: Belga/Brussels Airport

The EU reached a provisional deal for its ‘Digital Covid Certificate’ to make free movement during the pandemic easier just yesterday, bringing many people one step closer to going on holiday this summer.

If the certificate gets the final approval in early June, it will be introduced from 1 July, right in time for the summer holidays.

In the meantime, some key players in the Belgian travel sector have taken a number of measures and precautions to make sure that passengers are as safe as possible.

As long as not everyone has been (fully) vaccinated, the measures that we all know by heart now will likely remain throughout the entire summer: hand hygiene, social distancing, face masks and ventilation.

Besides these, the travel sector is hoping that tents placed in front of the departure hall to prevent a lot of people from congregating at the check-in, and flexible rebooking options for flights, will both make people feel safe enough to go on vacation.

On top of that, testing will remain ever-present, with Brussels Airlines’ CEO Peter Gerber pushing for the acceptance of rapid tests, as well.

“It would be a step in the right direction,” he said during a press conference, adding that this form of testing is already accepted in some neighbouring countries.

What do you think?

Will the EU’s Digital Green Certificate save your summer plans? Should rapid tests be accepted before boarding a plane?

Let @johnstonjules know. Or @maithechini, as she wrote this today.

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Belgium in Brief is a free daily roundup of the top stories to get you through your lunch break conversations. To receive it straight to your inbox every day, sign up below:

1. EU reaches agreement on European Covid Certificate for travel

On Thursday, the European Parliament and Council negotiators reached a provisional deal for a Digital Covid Certificate to facilitate free movement within the EU during the pandemic. Read more.

2. Manhunt Day Four: National Park swept, no sign of fugitive

Last night’s search of a large perimeter of the National Park Hoge Kempen in Limburg, involving security forces from three countries, produced one result: the discovery of the place where armed fugitive Jürgen Conings had apparently been camping since he went rogue. Read more.

3. 45% of adult population has received at least one coronavirus vaccine

Exactly 45% of the adult population in Belgium has received the first injection of a coronavirus vaccine, according to the latest figures from the Sciensano Public Health Institute updated on Friday morning. Read more.

4. Tents, tests and flexible flights: what Belgian travel will look like this summer

With extra tents to avoid large crowds at the check-in and an ever-present stress on testing, several key players of Belgium’s travel industry have revealed their plans to keep the summer holidays safe.

Even with the increasingly rapid rollout of Belgium’s vaccination campaign and the EU’s Digital Green Certificate on the horizon, travel in July and August will not yet be back to the way it was before the pandemic. Read more.

5. ‘Impossible to buy a home’ for two-thirds of people aged 21-35

Two-thirds of non-home-owners between the ages of 21 and 35 in Belgium feel buying a home is currently impossible, and 10% said they believed it would never be possible. Read More.

6. 3,000 fewer Brussels residents due to excess mortality and closed borders

The Brussels Region expects to record its first decrease in residents in a quarter of a century, reporting 3,000 fewer inhabitants in the Belgian capital in 2020, according to demographic forecasts from the Federal Planning Bureau and Statbel, shared by Brussels Minister Sven Gatz. Read More.

7. Night train between Brussels and Vienna to restart next week

The night train between Brussels and Vienna will start running again next week after a six-month break due to travel restrictions being imposed to fight the coronavirus crisis in both countries.

The train, run by Austrian railway authority ÖBB, will depart from Vienna next Tuesday and will arrive in Belgium’s capital on Wednesday morning, according to the Nightjet website. Read More.