Stay in Belgium for Christmas and New Year’s, Crisis Centre warns
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Stay in Belgium for Christmas and New Year’s, Crisis Centre warns

Credit: Belga

The Crisis Centre has urged people to stay in Belgium during the period of Christmas and New Year’s, and not to cross the border to celebrate in neighbouring countries, during a press conference on Monday.

“As the coronavirus situation may vary from country to country, and so may the accompanying measures, there will be a great temptation for some people to spend the end-of-year period abroad, and to cross the border,” Yves Stevens of the Crisis Centre said.

Additionally, contact tracing after a Covid-19 infection has been detected is a lot more difficult in an international context, which would allow the virus to continue its advance undisturbed.

“Unlike in the spring, the borders with neighbouring countries are still open,” Stevens said. “This allows essential movements, such as for medical or business reasons, to still go through.”

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Non-essential trips, however, such as going shopping or going for a haircut abroad, are strongly discouraged, he stressed, adding that it is already getting considerably busier than usual in certain border municipalities.

“In the current situation, however, we really must avoid concentrations of many people in shopping streets, both in Belgium and abroad,” Stevens said.

“On top of that, a number of our neighbouring countries have also imposed conditions, including quarantine or the presenting a negative Covid-19 test, for cross-border movements,” he said, referring to the Netherlands and Germany.

Additionally, the strict coronavirus measures in force in neighbouring countries, such as France, apply to everyone on the territory, including Belgians only there for a few days

“Anyone who stayed abroad for more than 48 hours and returns to Belgium must also fill in the Passenger Locator Form (PLF),” Stevens said.

“Our efforts in recent weeks are beginning to translate into a positive trend. The road is still long, but we are on track,” he said. “It would be a pity to undo all of that by taking a day trip abroad.”

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times