Belgium could ban non-essential travel even if no EU-wide solution is found
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Belgium could ban non-essential travel even if no EU-wide solution is found

Credit: Belga

Belgium intends to decide on a ban on non-essential travel on its own if no EU-wide agreement is reached at the European summit on Thursday evening.

Even though Prime Minister Alexander De Croo confirmed that he would advocate a “European solution” at the summit today, it is likely that Belgium will announce its own travel ban during the Consultative Committee on Friday if no agreement is reached, Belga reports.

Previously, Flemish Minister-President Jan Jambon, as well as several other politicians and experts, also expressed support for such a measure.

The Consultative Committee will meet on Friday at 2:00 PM to assess the current situation in Belgium, with the carnival holidays (15 to 21 February) in mind.

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Belgium is particularly focused on that holiday, as it wants to avoid a repeat of last year, when returning travellers caused an outbreak of infections in the country, leading to the first wave of the epidemic.

In addition to a ban on non-essential travel abroad, the question of increasing the mandatory quarantine period to 14 days when returning from a red zone will also be raised, the Belga news agency reports.

Additionally, the Consultative Committee could also discuss the situation in education, with a view to possibly harmonising the arrangements between the different communities.

On Wednesday, the Flemish community decided that all secondary school lessons would be given during an extra week of distance during before the carnival holidays.

For contact professions, it seems very unlikely that the measures will be relaxed, but a timeframe for reopening could be announced.

A ministerial decree published after the previous Consultative Committee had already extended the current measures until 1 March.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times