Coronavirus: Belgians from Westerdam cruise ship return to Europe
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    Coronavirus: Belgians from Westerdam cruise ship return to Europe

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    The 10 Belgians who had been holidaying in Asia when a case of the Coronavirus was detected on their cruise ship, the Westerdam, have returned to Europe, the Flemish health agency, Agentschap Zorg en Gezondheid, reported on Friday.

    The agency said it had contacted the returnees and they had all agreed to remain in quarantine for two weeks.

    “We waited for two people at Zaventem Airport this Friday morning, but we learned too late that another couple was arriving. They returned home by public transport – bus and train,” the agency’s spokesperson Joris Moonens, said.

    “We called them on the phone and informed them of the advisories regarding the two-week quarantine, starting from the time they left the boat. We also asked them to check their temperature regularly to see if they were not developing a fever,” he added.

    A couple from Herenthout who had been interviewed by the press in recent days also landed at Zaventem and returned home by train. A fourth couple arrived on Saturday morning and took a taxi home. They too, were informed of the measures they need to comply with.

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    “Finally, we have contacted the two remaining people, who landed this Friday morning in Schiphol,” in the Netherlands, Moonens said. “We’ll pick them up there.”

    “They all indicated that they would comply with the measures,” he added. “We won’t go to their homes to check whether they follow the rules, but we are counting on their sense of civic duty.”

    According to Moonens, the risk of the returnees being infected by the virus is very low. Of the 2,000 passengers who were on the cruise ship, only one was infected, and the risk that they may transmit the virus is also very limited, the spokesperson said, stressing that none of the Belgians showed any symptoms. “The quarantine was decided to avoid taking any risk,” he explained.

    An eleventh Belgian had been a crew member on the Westerdam. However, the cruise ship’s staff all tested negative for the novel Coronavirus.

    Oscar Schneider
    The Brussels Times