Belgium imposes €250 fines on red-zone travellers who don't get tested

Belgium imposes €250 fines on red-zone travellers who don't get tested
Credit: Belga

Travellers returning to Belgium from a red zone who do not get tested for the coronavirus will have to pay a €250 fine from now on, announced Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne.

A €250 fine already applied to people who did not respect coronavirus measures such as wearing a face mask or violating the ban on gatherings, but will now also apply to travellers who do not get tested on day 1 and 7.

"Often, travellers bring the virus back with them. Anyone coming from a red zone is obliged to be tested," Van Quickenborne said.

However, about 40% of returning travellers do not get tested, according to Sciensano, a gap that Van Quickenborne now wants to close.

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Fines will be issued automatically, using the Passenger Locator Forms (PLF) that people have to complete when they return after more than 48 hours abroad.

"You can see in the database whether someone had to get tested, and whether they did or did not," Van Quickenborne said. "We automatically receive lists, and on the basis of these lists, we will issue fines. A bit like traffic fines: if you drive too fast, you get a fine."

People who ignore the mandatory quarantine also risk a €250 fine, but quarantine checks are not as easy. "It is not because someone is not at home that they do not observe the quarantine. For example, they could have gone to the shop to buy food," said Van Quickenborne.

Repeat offenders risk that they will have to appear before court, he stressed.

Maïthé Chini

The Brussels Times

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