Belgium’s travel ban could be lifted before 1 April, says Di Rupo
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Belgium’s travel ban could be lifted before 1 April, says Di Rupo

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The ban on non-essential travel, originally intended to expire on 1 March but extended for another month at the last meeting of the consultative committee, could be lifted before 1 April, Walloon minister-president Elio Di Rupo has said.

Last week in parliament, prime minister Alexander De Croo said the measure would come in for consideration next time the committee meets on 26 February.

Speaking on RTL-TVi on Sunday, Di Rupo, who also sits on the committee, also opened up the possibility.

“The measure was taken to avoid seeing our fellow citizens go on winter sports holidays, with the consequences that we experienced last year,” explained Di Rupo. The next consultation committee will re-examine the situation, he said.

“I do not exclude the ban being lifted. But it could remain ‘strongly recommended’ not to go abroad.”

Deputy prime minister Petra De Sutter, another member of the consultative committee, also addressed the question.

The measure was prolonged to cover the month of March, and so was extended until 1 April, she said.

“But the intention is to review all of this during the next consultative committee on February 26,” she said, which could lead to the ban being lifted earlier – “It may not be April 1, but sooner.”

Asked about the possibility of a more general opening up of society in the near future, Di Rupo suggested 1 May might be an opportune date – “If the figures don’t start climbing in the meantime,” he qualified.

“I would hope it might be 1 May,” De Sutter said. “But it wouldn’t be wise to give a specific date.”

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times