Belgium in Brief: English Language Covid Contradiction

Belgium in Brief: English Language Covid Contradiction
Credit: Belga

Belgium’s official coronavirus information – which is thankfully also available in English – seemingly suffered from an unfortunate translation mistake, with anyone relying only on English risking a significant fine if they decided to follow the wrong piece of advice.

So – in order to avoid the -€250 prize – when do you have to fill out the Passenger Locator Form?

A) “within 48 hours of your arrival in Belgium,”

B) “no more than 48 hours before you leave for Belgium,”

If you answered B, you are correct. In fact, travellers who have not completed the form risk fines of €250 per person, according to the authorities, meaning anyone following the initial advice is likely to face a nasty shock amid Belgium’s strict new enforcement push.

Did you follow the wrong advice? What happened? Let us know.

Otherwise, let’s get to it.

Belgium in Brief is a free daily roundup of the top stories to get you through your lunch break conversations. To receive it straight to your inbox every day, sign up below:

1. English-speaking arrivals in Belgium risk fines due to translation error

A translation error on Belgium’s official coronavirus info website has left English-speaking travellers and residents with conflicting information which could lead to a hefty fine if they are not careful.

According to the English version of the official website, travellers must complete the form “within 48 hours of [their] arrival in Belgium,” giving would-be arrivals a window to comply. Read more.

2. Van Ranst on airport chaos: This is why travel was discouraged

Belgian virologist Marc Van Ranst has spoken out against huge crowds in Brussels Airport on Sunday evening, issuing a stark warning to travellers, airport and police.

After long lines formed while Passenger Locator Forms (PLF) were checked, officials and passengers have vocally criticised management, while the Airport, in turn, has placed the blame for the mismanagement on the federal police. Read More.

3. Belgian or not: all legal residents can get Covid-19 vaccination

Belgium will make no distinction between people with and without the Belgian nationality when vaccinating the population against the coronavirus, as long as they are legal residents. Read More.

4. Belgium begins large-scale coronavirus vaccination campaign

Belgium will begin its first major coronavirus vaccination campaign on Tuesday following a successful trial period in several nursing homes in the country.

After two pilot tests at the end of December which saw around 700 people in nursing homes receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, Belgium is ready to launch its official vaccine rollout. Read More.

5. 2021 will be a year for ‘positive change,’ says Van Gucht

After 2020 was dominated by lockdowns and restrictive measures against the coronavirus, 2021 will be a year for positive change, health officials stated during a press conference on Tuesday.

As the people in Belgium followed the measures very well during the Christmas holidays, 2021 can start with better figures, according to virologist and interfederal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht. Read More.

6. Over 160,000 travellers returned from red zones during Christmas holidays

More than 160,000 travellers returned to Belgium from a red zone during the Christmas holidays, according to sources in the Federal Public Health Service.

A total of 187,991 travellers reportedly filled out the Passenger Locator Form (PLF) when returning to Belgium over the past two weeks, reports RTL Info based on sources at the Federal Public Health Service.

Of those, 160,208 came from travellers returning from a red zone. Read more.

7. Brussels will deploy inspectors to enforce quarantine

Brussels will deploy around 40 inspectors to ensure that travellers returning from a red zone are respecting the mandatory quarantine rule, Brussels Minister-President Rudi Vervoort said on Monday.

Vervoort called for strict compliance with the measures in order to avoid an outbreak of coronavirus infections, which is why inspectors will be “on the ground checking whether the quarantines are being respected,” he told BX1. Read More.

Jules Johnston
The Brussels Times

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