Share article:
Share article:

Belgium delays decision on stricter travel rules

Credit: Belga

Belgium has not made a decision on new rules for travellers yet, as key government ministers met to discuss possible measures today, that could be implemented by the Consultative Committee on Friday.

The so-called “core cabinet,” made up of the Prime Minister and all deputy prime ministers, met on Monday morning to work out measures to limit non-essential travel abroad to halt the circulation of coronavirus variants to be submitted to the Consultative Committee on Friday, the Belga press reports.

The Committee, which brings together Belgium’s federal and different Regional governments, will have to make the final decision on which measures get implemented or not, at the end of the week.

However, several experts including former interfederal Covid-19 spokesperson Emmanuel André stated that tighter restrictions were needed right away, and the clearest solution to avoiding the spread of the more infectious variants is to “reduce all movement as much as possible.”

Related News:


Additionally, it is a possibility that the key ministers will meet again – possibly twice – before the final decision is taken on Friday, a source told Belga, as the advice of the GEMS expert group advising the government was requested.

A recent GEMS report, delivered to the authorities this weekend, already stated that non-essential travel should be discouraged as much as possible, that fewer journeys should be considered essential, and that controls on testing and quarantine as well as on the necessity of journeys be stepped up.

“The objective remains the most effective possible monitoring of the pandemic, with constant adaptation based on the evolution of the health situation,” the press agency was told.

While Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden told VTM News this weekend that a border closure was not ruled out, she also stated that implementing such a measure would be easier said than done, and that, in European context, Belgium agreed not to close its borders unilaterally.

On Sunday, Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke said that a ban on non-essential travel was not on the table – even though a growing number of experts are in favour of such a measure – but that the government might take further steps “by discouraging trips abroad and making them more difficult.”

Currently, the rules for testing and quarantine do not apply to people who have been abroad for less than 48 hours, or who have been in Belgium for less than 48 hours.

Vandenbroucke already stated that this is “a gap” that must be filled, but did not comment on how that should happen, or what a possible shorter timeframe could be.

Justice Minister and Deputy Prime Minister for Flemish liberals Open Vld Vincent Van Quickenborne pleaded for a 16-hour limit, calling it “a proposal that we can live with” on Sunday.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Brussels’ Museum Night Fever draws in some 12,000 visitors
Some 12,000 participants took part in the 14th edition of Museum Night Fever in Brussels, with the 29 participating museums filled to the maximum ...
Relaunch of 10,000 steps campaign to get Flemish people moving
The Flemish government is breathing new life into its 10,000 steps campaign to get people in the region moving after a recent survey found that a ...
‘No scientific basis’ for giving everyone third dose, vaccine expert says
The head of Belgium's Vaccination Taskforce has argued that there is not enough scientific evidence to support the Flemish government's decision to ...
Re-introducing face masks indoors considered as Covid-19 situation worsens
Belgium's council of ministers will hold an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss the worsening epidemiological situation, and reintroducing face ...
Threats of strike action could affect Brussels’ STIB network from Monday
Brussels public transport operator STIB's trams, buses and metros could be affected from Monday 25 October onwards as the union representing the ...
Brussels bars linked to alleged sexual assault vouch to improve women’s safety
The management of the two bars in Ixelles, which made headlines in recent days after several young women reported that they had been drugged then ...
European Council: Decisions on Covid-19 and energy and debate on other issues
At the two-days summit which ended on Friday, the European Council adopted conclusions on COVID-19, digital, energy prices, migration, trade and ...
Flanders ‘water bomb’ could cause €2 billion in damages and affect thousands
The next "water bomb" or heavy rainfall over Flanders could cause damages estimated at around €2 billion, and could affect up to 100,000 people in ...
Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine 90% effective in 5 to 11-year-olds
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 90.7% effective in preventing symptomatic forms of the coronavirus in children aged five to 11, Pfizer announced on ...
Belgian airport named best for cargo in Europe
Brussels Airport has been named the best airport in Europe in a 2021 roundup of the best cargo airports across the world. The Asian Freight, ...
NASA plans first return mission to Moon in February 2022
The United States space agency, NASA, has announced that it will be aiming to launch its first, uncrewed mission to the moon, Artemis 1, in February ...
New, reportedly more contagious Delta mutation being monitored
A new mutation of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, which is reported to be more contagious, is being monitored by health authorities in the ...