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No fines for red-zone returnees who skipped test

Credit: Belga

Among the travellers who refused to get tested for coronavirus after returning from a red zone, no one has been fined yet, De Standaard reports on Tuesday.

Neither the federal police, which also collects statistics from the local police, nor the college of public prosecutors, nor Karine Moykens – president of the inter-federal Testing & Tracing Committee – are aware of any fines, according to the newspaper.

However, 28,360 travellers who returned from red zones abroad in January did not take the compulsory test on days 1 and 7 of their return to Belgium, a rule in place since the end of December.

In fact, the percentage of returning travellers skipping a test amounted to more than 40%, according to Sciensano figures.

The offence is punishable by a €250 fine in the form of an amicable settlement.

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The testing obligation can be checked thanks to the Passenger Locator Form (PLF) and the SMS returning travellers receive, according to Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne.

While the penalties’ automated nature does not seem to be up to date yet, “a working group is looking into the matter,” Van Quickenborne said.

Belgium was one of many countries to tighten its travel rules at the end of December, and introduced a ban on non-essential travel at the end of January.

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times