Thousands returned to Belgium with coronavirus, expert warns
Friday, 08 January 2021
Somewhere between 2,500 to 5,000 people who travelled during the winter vacations likely returned to Belgium with a coronavirus infection, according to biostatistician Geert Molenberghs (UHasselt and KU Leuven).
While 80,000 people filled out a “Passenger Locator Form” during the second week of the Christmas vacations, only 11% were tested and 3.7% of them were positive for Covid-19, Molenberghs told the Mediahuis newspapers.
“If you extrapolate this percentage to all the 80,000 travellers, you get 3,000 infections. But there are also many travellers who didn’t fill in this form,” explained the biostatistician. According to his estimates, the number of infected people can therefore reach 5,000.
The percentages of infection vary according to region visited, as well as the trip itself. “The nature of the trip was also often different: it was not about people staying in a vacation home, but about people visiting family members and therefore having close contacts,” Molenberghs explains.
It is for this reason that the figures clearly show it is crucial to respect the quarantine period, he added.