Belgians ‘not welcome’ as Dutch city records rise in new coronavirus infections
Share article:
Share article:

Belgians ‘not welcome’ as Dutch city records rise in new coronavirus infections

Credit: M.Minderhoud/Wikimedia Commons

An “alarming” surge of new coronavirus infections in a Dutch city on the border with Belgium has seen the mayor declare that Belgians would no longer be welcome on its territory.

“Belgians are not welcome right now,” Frank Petter, mayor of Bergen op Zoom, a town of some 66,000 inhabitants located just over a dozen kilometres from the Belgian border, said on Tuesday.

Petter said that the number of infections in the Dutch city had shot up in recent days, with officials recording a positivity rate of more than 14% from 956 tests administered in the first 9 days of August.

Related News:


“I think border traffic should be regulated, I am thinking of border controls, where only essential journeys are allowed,” Petter said. “For that, I need the national government — as long as that border remains open, I can take all kinds of measures in Bergen op Zoom, but I’m just mopping up while the tap is running.”

According to De Standaard, Petter said that, with nearly half of all new positive cases emerged in the Dutch-Moroccan community, city officials suspected that the recent celebrations of the Muslim Feast of Sacrifice had likely boosted the virus’ circulation in the city.

“The Feast of Sacrifice, a week and a half ago, has most likely been the cause of many infections,” he said. “We are now following-up on where all those people have been.”

The mayor also said that his city’s proximity to the Belgian province of Antwerp —which is entering its third week of a late-night curfew imposed to curb a soaring rate of new coronavirus infections— could help explain the jump in local infections.

In late July, the Netherlands banned all non-essential travel to the province of Antwerp, but, according to Belgium’s travel guidelines, residents from the province of Antwerp can travel to the Netherlands but most go into 14-day quarantine, with residents of other areas of Belgium allowed in without condition.

Local authorities in Bergen op Zoom have not rolled out specific measures but will focus on checks and enforcement of current regulations, with the situation set to be reevaluated Tuesday.

Petter is reportedly also exploring the possibility of banning people from the Antwerp province from being served in the city’s restaurants, bars and cafés.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Belgium’s Consultative Committee to meet on Tuesday
The next meeting of Belgium's Consultative Committee, scheduled for Friday, has been brought forward to Tuesday at 4:30 PM, according to local media ...
Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Unilever are world’s biggest plastic polluters
Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Unilever were found to be the world's biggest polluters of plastic in a report published by Branded on Monday. Over 11,000 ...
Four men charged with illegally buying thousands of live ducks to hunt on private land
Four Belgian men will appear in court on Monday facing charges related to the purchase of thousands of ducks, which were then released into a private ...
More wolf attacks: 15 deer killed at family resort over the weekend
Fifteen deer were killed by wolves in the Belgian province of Limburg this weekend, between Saturday night and Sunday morning. The deer were ...
Cost of breast cancer still too high for many patients
Breast cancer still carries too high a cost for patients when one in nine women in Belgium will face the disease before reaching 75, according to a ...
Gare Maritime: Brussels’ most exciting new architectural project
A generation ago, the Gare Maritime in the Tour & Taxis industrial site was an abandoned wasteland. It is now a model for urban renewal and ...
Belgium in Brief: Rules For A Fourth Wave
It's the news that nobody wants to hear, but here we go again. Belgium’s council of ministers will hold an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss ...
Belgian grandparents to walk across Scotland for COP26
A group of Belgian grandparents has set off on a 100 km hike that will take them from Belgium to the Scottish city of Glasgow, just ahead of the ...
Rise in fuel prices will bring Belgian State €547 million in tax, say Workers Party
The sharp rise in fuel prices that have been felt across the continent will bring an additional €547 million to the Belgian State, the Workers' Party ...
Amid backlash, Brussels police chief promises to do better for sexual assault victims
After multiple rallies against sexual violence took place in Brussels last week, with victims offering testimony of poor treatment from police when ...
Person hit by train in Brussels
A person was hit by a train in the tunnel between Brussels North and Brussels Central at around 10:20 AM on Monday, railway network manager Infrabel ...
Hire bikes and scooters: Brussels Parliament wants to restore order
Majority parties in the Brussels Parliament plan to enact new rules allowing communes to set specific and mandatory parking spaces for hire bikes and ...