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How Belgium’s latest travel rules work

Credit: Belga

While travelling abroad remains “strongly discouraged,” Belgium’s Consultative Committee decided to further restrict the rules for those who still want to cross the border.

Anyone who comes to Belgium after having been in a red zone – which is currently almost the whole of Europe – for more than 48 hours will now be considered a high-risk contact, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced on Friday.

Upon return after a trip, travellers returning from a red zone are required to quarantine for seven days, with a subsequent negative test result. “The police will also check if people are complying with the rules,” he said.

“At our borders and our airports, there will be strict checks to see whether people have filled out the Passenger Locator Form (PLF),” De Croo said.

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The exchange of data between the Sciensano database and the local authorities and police will be improved, which will allow for checks and better monitoring of the quarantine obligation.

However, the seven-day quarantine is not mandatory for people whose PLF shows that their risk of infection was low due to their behaviour, according to Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke.

“Someone who went to a red zone but spent it all alone in a hut on the top of a mountain is not a risk,” he added, stressing that the calculation of the risk score will be evaluated more strictly

From 25 December, non-residents who want to enter Belgium after they have been in a red zone will have to show a recent negative Covid-19 test certificate before they are allowed to enter.

“We are asking the transport companies to make sure that they follow this rule,” Vandenbroucke said. “A plane will not take anyone on board if they do not have that proof.”

As not everyone enters the country by plane, border controls will be carried out by the police as well, according to him.

Additionally, a new PLF system will be introduced at the beginning of 2021, distinguishing between professional and private travel.

Business travellers with a certificate from their employer will no longer have to be quarantined if their PLF does not show any risk behaviour.

“I will stress it once again: do not travel,” De Croo said. “In most countries, the situation is worse than here, and in many countries, there are also very strict measures to follow.”

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times