Belgium's latest meeting of the consultative committee has unveiled new measures for the country aimed at enforcing the current rules more strictly.
While the press conference covered a lot of questions - more on that here - here's what Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced during a press conference on Friday.
Strict rules on travel
- Any kind of travel remains strongly discouraged, with De Croo stressing the importance of not importing the virus.
- Anyone who does not respond to this call and stays abroad for more than 48 hours is now considered a high-risk contact."
- Anyone returning from a red zone must therefore be quarantined for at least seven days.
- Passenger Locator Form (PLF) will be strictly checked at the airports.
- Travellers must be able to submit a negative coronavirus test before entering our country.
- Residents will not have to provide a test.
- This will start on 25 December.
- The exchange of data between the Sciensano database and the local authorities and police will be improved, allowing better monitoring of the quarantine measures, according to the Ministers-President of the different regions.
- After seeing that the rules were not being followed, there will be a push to ensure they are. "Teleworking is not an option but an obligation," said De Croo.
- There will be stricter controls on teleworking, and companies that do not comply with the rules risk a “severe fine.”
- There will be stricter checks on whether the measures are respected on public transport.
- Curfews will remain a regional competency, meaning Flemish people have to stay inside between midnight and 5:00 AM. In Brussels, the curfew starts at 10:00 PM, as well as in Wallonia.
No changes to social rules
- The so-called cuddle contact rules remain in place: every family member has the right to one additional contact with whom a permanent close contact is maintained, with whom the social distance does not have to be respected and whom you can invite to your home.
- As with before, multiple contacts cannot be invited to the same house/family at the same time, and those who live along can have 2 contacts - but not at the same times.
Even for Christmas
- The only change to the above rules is that people living alone can invite their two cuddle contacts together for that day.
No extended school break
- Belgian schools will open again on 4 January, as long as they follow measures that have already applied in recent weeks, as such, the Christmas vacations will only last two weeks.
The Brussels Times