‘Underestimation of reality’: 435 people fined for non-essential trips last week
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‘Underestimation of reality’: 435 people fined for non-essential trips last week

Credit: Belga

Of the more than 67,000 people checked by the police at the border, 1,188 fines were handed out during the Carnival Holidays, of which 435 were reports of non-essential journeys.

During the week between 13 and 21 February, 30,130 various vehicles (including planes, trains, cars, trucks) were checked to ensure compliance with current coronavirus fighting measures by the local and federal police, which has warned these figures should be taken with a pinch of salt.

“These figures are probably an underestimation of the reality,” said the federal police, referring to a delay in the processing of official reports in the General National Database, which means that unregistered reports from last weekend have not yet been included in these figures.

Included in these 1,188 fines issued for non-compliance with the ban on movement, 753 reports were drawn up for people who failed to observe the curfew between 12 AM and 5 AM in the morning, but these could also include violations of the non-essential travel ban.

“The official reports that were drawn up at night against the ban on non-essential travel are not counted, but we assume that this number will be rather low,” said the federal police.

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Of this total, police identified 435 people in Belgium, an average of 48 per day, in violation with the ban on non-essential travel by attempting to cross the border without being exempt from the restriction.

Another 43 people were fined for not completing the mandatory Passenger Locator Form, whilst three were punished for not providing a negative test, which is compulsory when returning for a red zone country.

The reinforcement of these border checks during the Carnival Holidays had been announced by Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden, to ensure compliance with the measures, specifically for the non-essential travel ban.

Lauren Walker
The Brussels Times