Coronavirus: Belgium will lift ban on travel to red-zone destinations
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Coronavirus: Belgium will lift ban on travel to red-zone destinations

© Belga/B. Fahy

Travelling to a destination marked as red or high risk by Belgium will no be no longer forbidden from Friday, the minister of foreign affairs announced.

Federal Minister Philippe Goffin said that from 25 September, travellers from Belgium will be strongly discouraged from travelling to a red zone destination.

Goffin’s decision was “favourably welcomed” by his EU counterparts as he announced it during a Foreign Affairs Council on Monday.

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The decision means that the foreign affairs ministry’s role on travelling during the pandemic will be scaled back to the issuing of travelling recommendations, putting Belgium in line with other EU countries.

“This decision by the government fits in with our will to work towards greater coordination at the European level,” Goffin said, according to Le Soir.

Belgium had so far been the only country in the EU to formally ban travel to red zone destinations, rather than just strongly advise against them.

The decision follows news that the EU was aiming to roll out an EU-wide travel recommendations system in an effort to bring clarity to travellers and as well as travel operators.

Goffin said that there still remained “a lot of work to do,” before the bloc rolled out uniform travel recommendations but said the decision to align Belgium with other countries’ approach was “an important step towards real coordination.”

“The decision by Belgium in March to ban travel to red zones was “exceptional but necessary in the face of an unknown health situation,” Goffin said, adding that it was back then “aligned” with the lockdown measures imposed “on all Belgians and nearly on all of Europe.”

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times