Belgium in Brief: Struggles To Quarantine High-risk Travellers
Share article:
Share article:

Belgium in Brief: Struggles To Quarantine High-risk Travellers

Credit: Belga/Facebook

Following rising figures reported in various parts of Europe, Belgium was faced with a difficult choice as it tried to prevent a second wave of infections within the country.

On Monday morning, the news was clear: Despite several countries in Europe tightening restrictions or imposing local lockdowns again, Belgium has no federal framework in place to make sure returning travellers are coronavirus-free before getting back in society.

By Monday evening, things had developed: Belgium will treat travellers returning from a country or region where the coronavirus measures have been tightened again in the same way as high-risk contacts of infected people. They will be tested and quarantined.

Progress, but with a caveat.

While this plan is fairly clear cut at a regulated point of entry, it becomes a lot harder to keep track of with people driving back. That, The Brussels Times has learned, is the next challenge – so watch this space.

With so much information, and so little time to catch up before it potentially changes again, here are some of the top stories from around the country to get you up to speed.

How can new tech best be applied to advance UN development goals such as reduction in poverty, conflict, and environmental destruction? Join our online debate tomorrow to find out.

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. Belgium keeps borders closed to travellers from EU’s 15 safe countries

Belgium will not open its borders to travellers from the 15 countries that were on the EU white list from 7 July, the country’s core cabinet decided on Monday.

The European Union recommended to its member states that they could lift travel restrictions for 15 countries from 1 July, but every country could set up their own timeline to (partly) adopt the EU decision. Read more here.

2. Belgium will quarantine arrivals from high-risk countries

Belgium will treat travellers returning from a country or region where the coronavirus measures have been tightened again in the same way as high-risk contacts of infected people, the Risk Management Group decided on Monday.

This means that returning travellers will be tested and placed in quarantine for a maximum of two weeks. At the moment, however, it is not yet clear how this will be worked out in legal and practical terms. Read more.

3. Coronavirus: new hospitalisations decrease by 5% in Belgium

An average of 81.7 people per day tested positive for the new coronavirus (Covid-19) in Belgium, according to figures by the Federal Public Health Service on Tuesday.

The total number of confirmed cases in Belgium, since the beginning of the pandemic, is 62,058. The total reflects all people in Belgium who have been infected, and includes confirmed active cases as well as patients who have since recovered, or died from the consequences of the virus.

All trends continue to decrease, according to the authorities. Read More.

4. Spanish antibody study casts doubt on chances of herd immunity

A persistent theory that herd immunity could be a feasible way to tackle the coronavirus has had a substantial knock after a new Spanish study cast doubt on the idea.

According to the study of 61,075 people in 35,883 randomly selected households throughout the country, roughly 5% of the Spanish population has developed antibodies. This stops far short of the 70% to 90% of a population required in order to achieve herd immunity. Read More.

5. Word ‘Arab’ removed from Brussels monument after far-right ‘restores’ it

Authorities have removed the word ‘Arab’ from a monument in Brussels, reversing a move by far-right party members to “restore” it by reinscribing it back on the memorial last week.

The Buildings Agency said that it will not be filing a complaint after two figureheads of far-right party Vlaams Belang (VB) last week put the word ‘Arab’, in Dutch and French, back on the monument. Read more.

6. 2 in 3 early Covid-19 tests show false negative, study shows

Testing people infected with the new coronavirus (Covid-19) too early in the course of the infection is likely to lead to a false-negative test result, a recent study shows.

Johns Hopkins researchers estimated that people that were tested for the virus in the four days after infection were 67% more likely to test negative, even if they had the virus, by reviewing RT-PCR (reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction) test data from seven prior studies.

When the average patient began displaying symptoms of the virus, the false-negative rate was 38%. Read more.

7. Diesel price will increase from Wednesday

Refuelling with diesel (B7) will be more expensive again from Wednesday 8 July. For the nitty-gritty, click here.

Jules Johnston
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Increase in number of people ‘asking King for mercy’ through royal pardons
More and more people living in Belgium have been seeking royal pardons, mainly for fines, largely as a result of it now being possible to send in ...
England now accepting cheaper Covid tests from fully vaccinated travellers
Fully vaccinated travellers who enter England from non-red countries will only be required to book a lateral flow test to take following their ...
Re-introducing face masks indoors considered as Covid-19 situation worsens
Belgium's council of ministers will hold an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss the worsening epidemiological situation, and reintroducing face ...
Federal museums to receive €2.9 million booster shot
Federal museums will receive an additional €2.9 million in support from the government for the fiscal year 2021, of which the first payouts will be ...
European Parliament emphasises healthy food and animal welfare in EU Farm to Fork Strategy
The European Parliament adopted this week a resolution on the EU Farm to Fork Strategy calling for a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food ...
Threats of strike action could affect Brussels’ STIB network from Monday
Brussels public transport operator STIB's trams, buses and metros could be affected from Monday 25 October onwards as the union representing the ...
Number of international adoptions in Belgium continues to drop
The number of regulated international adoptions authorised by Belgium further dropped in 2020, continuing an ongoing decreasing trend. Last ...
Disaster drill with emergency services held at Brussels Airport
Around 300 people took part in a disaster drill held was organised on Saturday by Brussels Airport in collaboration with external emergency services ...
Austria presents bill to legalise euthanasia
Austria’s government on Saturday presented its proposals for legalising assisted suicide, in response to a Constitutional Court ruling that the ...
Brussels’ Museum Night Fever draws in some 12,000 visitors
Some 12,000 participants took part in the 14th edition of Museum Night Fever in Brussels, with the 29 participating museums filled to the maximum ...
Relaunch of 10,000 steps campaign to get Flemish people moving
The Flemish government is breathing new life into its 10,000 steps campaign to get people in the region moving after a recent survey found that a ...
‘No scientific basis’ for giving everyone third dose, vaccine expert says
The head of Belgium's Vaccination Taskforce has argued that there is not enough scientific evidence to support the Flemish government's decision to ...