Travellers returning from ‘red zones’ no longer need to see a doctor to be tested
Share article:
Share article:

Travellers returning from ‘red zones’ no longer need to see a doctor to be tested

Credit: Belga

Travellers coming back to Belgium after staying in a red zone, and people who have been in close contact with a person infected with the new coronavirus (Covid-19) can now go directly to a centre or some laboratories for a PCR test.

They will need to present a code sent to them by text message under a new procedure, adopted on Friday, by the Belgian health research institution, Sciensano. They will no longer need to consult a general practitioner first, but are requested to do so if they test positive or develop symptoms.

Since 1 August, people returning to Belgium after being out of the country for longer than 48 hours need to fill in a Passenger Locator Form, showing their travel history. This applies to all trips abroad, whatever the means of transport. It also enables the returning traveller to know if they are coming back from a high-risk zone.

Anyone returning from red zones but who shows no symptoms will receive a text message with a “Coronavirus test prescription code,” enabling them to go for the test.

Until now, they received a message asking them to isolate themselves and consult a doctor, who would then tell them where to do the test. They would then receive a second text message enabling them to go and do the test.

Related News:


“This PCR test can now be done directly in a centre or a laboratory, without a prescription, as long as they can verify the validity of the prescription code for the patient in question who also has to fill in an electronic form, required for contact tracing,” Sciensano explained.

“For that, the laboratory or centre needs to be contacted by phone, online or through one’s general practitioner,” depending on the way things are organised locally, Sciensano added.

People with symptoms are asked to contact their GP by phone and provide them with their travel history.

Sciensano also recommends that asymptomatic travellers returning from an orange zone also do the test even if it is not compulsory for them. “If, in consultation with the doctor, it is decided to do a test, that must be done by the general practitioner or in a centre,” said Sciensano. Additionally, they are advised to go into a voluntary quarantine.

People who have been in close contact with people infected with Covid-19 can also go directly to a centre or laboratory, using a code sent by text message.

This applies to persons identified through contact tracing and who have stayed in the same room, or another enclosed environment, with an infected person for over 15 minutes, did not always remain 1.5 metres from them and/or touched the same objects.

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 ...