Tighter restrictions on travel abroad are needed right away to keep the new coronavirus variants out of Belgium as much as possible, according to microbiologist Emmanuel André (KU Leuven).
In light of the growing number of coronavirus infections with the UK variant and the first detected case of the South African variant on Wednesday, André fears even more import of the variants.
The clearest solution to avoiding the spread of the more infectious variants is to “reduce all movement as much as possible,” the former interfederal Covid-19 spokesperson told RTBF. “This is necessary. We do not have a choice. We must act now.”
“Travel has always been a problem,” André said. “We know that last summer, with the mass tourism that took place, it brought a lot of cases to Belgium again.”
“Today, in addition to the import of new cases, this [South African] variant is also circulating, which is even more infectious,” he said, adding that he understood that the outright closure of borders would be “difficult to achieve.”
Additionally, people will be tempted to get away from the situation in Belgium for a while during spring break again, according to him, adding that the government has been too “lax” in its decisions regarding travel in the past.
“We know that measures such as these take time to implement,” he said. “If we want to restrict travel very tightly, we should not warn people only at the last minute.”
The Brussels Times