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    The Netherlands bans non-essential travel to Antwerp

    Credit: Jsamwrites/Wikimedia Commons

    The Netherlands has listed the province of Antwerp as an orange travel zone, advising residents to steer clear of the area for all non-essential travel.

    The move comes after the northern Belgian province was put under a strict 11:30 PM-6:00 AM curfew as authorities rush to beat back a surge of new coronavirus cases.

    “Travel to the province of Antwerp, and to the city of Antwerp, only if it is really necessary. So not for tourism,” the Dutch foreign affairs ministry wrote on Tuesday.

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    The rest of Belgium is still classed as a yellow travel zone by the Netherlands, meaning there are no specific travel restrictions but Dutch residents are advised to remain vigilant due the “safety risks” linked to the pandemic.

    The ministry said that Dutch residents can travel through the Antwerp province if they need to in order to reach a destination that is outside the orange area but urged them not to stop for rest and not even for a refuel.

    The curfew imposed on the Antwerp province is set to last for at least four weeks, and will see restaurants, bars and cafés ordered to shut down by 11:00 PM.

    While authorities were aiming to have the curfew in place by Tuesday evening, just hours after it was announced, its effective entry into force was ultimately delayed because the legal text for its imposition was not ready.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times