Belgian experts ‘wholeheartedly support’ opening borders to cross-border couples
Wednesday, 19 August 2020
Belgian virologists, including Marc Van Ranst, “wholeheartedly support” efforts to open the country’s borders to couples who have been separated by the coronavirus, but the government has not taken any measures yet.
The hashtags #LoveIsNotTourism and #LoveIsEssential have been used by many couples in long-distance relationships who were separated for months to call attention to their situation, but Belgium has not given couples any perspective yet.
“Nothing has changed yet, and there is no perspective,” Hannah Maes (25) told The Brussels Times. Maes has not seen her American girlfriend, who lives in New York, since January. “They are working on it, they say, but so far, it has been nothing but talk,” she added.
On Twitter, Van Ranst said that he and his fellow-virologists “wholeheartedly support the #loveisnottourism principle,” and have been proposing it to the government for months.
My fellow-virologists and I wholeheartedly support the #loveisnottourism principle, and are already proposing this already for months to our government. I hope that you will soon be together with your partners!
Besides virologists, Celeval, which assists the government in deciding the measures to be taken to fight the virus, also showed support for the idea of letting cross border couples unite in a report on 5 August.
“Celeval wants to support the human aspect when it comes to non-essential journeys for love partners and family, and finds it important to analyse this issue to see to what extent a limited admission is possible,” the report read.
“Everyone agrees that this is an important subject, and it also concerns a relatively small number [of people]. But the devil is in the details: where do you draw the line, how do you prove you are in love, how do you prevent abuse?” Van Ranst said then.
Several of Belgium’s neighbouring countries, such as Germany, France and the Netherlands, as well as several other countries in the EU, have made exceptions to their rules, provided that partners were willing to quarantine and show that they are in a lasting relationship.