Over 200,000 Belgians should be in post-travel quarantine at the moment
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    Over 200,000 Belgians should be in post-travel quarantine at the moment

    A man wears a mask in the departures hall of Brussels Airport, in Zaventem, Thursday 12 March 2020. © BELGA PHOTO/CHARLOTTE GEKIERE

    Over 200,000 people should be in quarantine at the moment in Belgium after having returned to the country from a red or orange travel zone.

    Over the past two weeks, 43,000 people have declared they are returning to the country after a stay in a red travel zone, according to figures by the federal public health service (FPS Health).

    An additional 190,000 have said they are returning from an orange zone, the figures, obtained by De Standaard, show, meaning at least 233,000 people should currently be in quarantine in the country.

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    While going into self-isolation and getting a coronavirus test is mandatory for red zone returnees, it is only highly recommended and non-enforceable for those coming back from an orange zone.

    The FPS’ figures are drawn from a mandatory return form that travellers coming into the country by all forms of transport, after a stay of more 48 hours abroad, are expected to fill in.

    The number of people who should be in quarantine at the moment could therefore be higher than the FPS’ estimates, as not all passengers fill in the form. Moreover, checks on those entering by individual transport such as a personal vehicle or by foot or car are more difficult to carry out.

    Since it was launched on 1 August, the return travel form has been completed 1.6 million times and a total of 108,000 people have returned from a red zone since, compared to 566,000 from an orange zone.

    The Brussels Times