Belgium tightens testing rules for the fully vaccinated from 31 August
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Belgium tightens testing rules for the fully vaccinated from 31 August

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Belgium is tightening its rules for people who have had a high-risk contact, even if they are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, from Tuesday 31 August.

Last Friday, the Consultative Committee decided that in case returning travellers have to get tested on day 1 after their return (for unvaccinated people without a recovery certificate returning from a red zone), it should always be followed by a test on day 7, too.

“In line with this, the Interministerial Conference on Public Health decided on 25 August to apply this rule to all high-risk contacts as well,” the authorities announced.

In practice, this means that all high-risk contacts, including those who are fully vaccinated, have to get tested on day 1 and day 7 after they have had a high-risk contact.

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A contact is considered ‘high risk’ by the Belgian authorities if someone has been in face-to-face contact (a conversation, for example) for at least 15 minutes without keeping 1.5m apart, with someone who tested positive for Covid.

Additionally, a person who was in the same room or closed environment with a Covid-19 patient for more than 15 minutes is also considered a high-risk contact.

If the test result is negative on day 1, no quarantine is required, but the second test (on day 7) is required regardless of the outcome of the first one. If the test is positive, however, self-isolation is obligatory.

Additionally, for both returning travellers and high-risk contacts, the authorities stressed the importance of the Coronalert app, which warns you if you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.

The app is interoperable with the apps in most European countries and it is important that all citizens – but particularly travellers – continue to use it so that contacts, even those who are not known, can be notified when they are at risk.