Orange travel zones ‘absolutely must exist’, says Belgian PM
Share article:
Share article:

Orange travel zones ‘absolutely must exist’, says Belgian PM

Credit: Belga

Despite the confusion and uncertainty Belgium’s list of orange travel zone has caused since it was created, the orange option “absolutely must exist,” according to Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès.

The nuance that the orange travel zones bring is very important, Wilmès clarified during a press conference on Wednesday.

“The concept of the orange zones absolutely must exist. It is not all or nothing. It is not ‘very dangerous’ or ‘not dangerous at all’, and that’s why we have to keep the orange zone,” she said, adding that dealing with the in-between situations is also necessary.

Since Belgium introduced the colour-coded traffic light system for travellers last week, both the rules and the countries’ colours have changed several times, leading to confusion for travellers, businesses and doctors.

On Monday, travellers returning from an orange zone were recommended to quarantine and get tested. By Tuesday, only “increased vigilance” was necessary, and any mention of quarantine was gone.

Then, by Tuesday afternoon, the measures had changed again, and returning travellers are now asked – not recommended – to quarantine and get tested.

Related News:

 

Domus Medica, the Flemish association of general practitioners, denounced the lack of clarity, saying that “general practitioners cannot continue to work like this” and asking if someone would “finally take the helm and try to guide us through the second wave?”

Flemish employers organisation VOKA also called for the system to be abolished, saying that the system only created uncertainty for employers and that was “incomprehensible.”

However, the system is here to stay, Wilmès said on Wednesday. “If you come back from an orange zone, or if you have been at a superspreader event abroad, for example, we are asking you to be super vigilant, and to consult your doctor. They will test you and decide if you need to go into quarantine or not,” she added.

Quarantining when returning from an orange zone is “advised,” but not an obligation. “We are counting on the people here,” she added.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Flanders introduces ‘invisible’ speed cameras
New digital speed cameras that are essentially invisible to the road user are being introduced on various roads and motorways in Flanders, Flemish ...
Warnings issued for slippery roads across Belgium
Drivers have been asked to watch out for slippery roads from Saturday afternoon until Sunday evening, as snow and cold temperatures are expected ...
Testing rules following high-risk contact eased for vaccinated people
The coronavirus testing policy following a high-risk contact has been eased, meaning a vaccinated person who was in contact with an infected person ...
New measures announced for Belgian schools
Stricter rules are being implemented across a variety of sectors in Belgium to curb the rising number of infections and limit the damage as a result ...
Majority of booster doses should be administered by March 2022
Invitations will be sent out in the following days for the general population in Belgium to receive a coronavirus booster vaccine, and most adults ...
Belgium adopts national plan to combat gender-based violence
Belgium has adopted a National Action plan for the Fight against Gender-Based Violence, which includes more than 200 measures and unites all levels ...
Antwerp cancels Christmas market and New Year’s Eve fireworks
The city of Antwerp has joined other cities including Leuven and Ghent by announcing it is cancelling this year's Christmas market, the end-of-year ...
Pharmaceutical companies looking into vaccines against new variant
Pharmaceutical companies have sprung into action to look into vaccine protection against the new coronavirus variant first detected in South Africa, ...
Belgium imposes entry ban on travellers from southern Africa
Belgium is introducing an entry ban for travellers from several countries in the south of Africa following concerns about a new variant (B.1.1.529) ...
What Ursula did next
BRUSSELS BEHIND THE SCENES • Weekly analysis and untold stories
Nightclub closures, limiting contacts: These rules come into force today
Just over one week after its last meeting, Belgium's Consultative Committee on Friday once again announced a set of new measures to curb the rising ...
Almost 3,500 Covid-19 patients in hospitals as new cases continue to skyrocket
The number of new coronavirus cases in Belgium is continuing to rise, and with it the number of Covid-19 patients who are hospitalised as a result of ...