Don’t travel across the border, Belgium and Netherlands warn
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Don’t travel across the border, Belgium and Netherlands warn

Credit: Belga

Belgium’s Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden and her Dutch colleague Ferd Grapperhaus are calling on people not to travel between the two countries, unless the journey is essential.

The borders between the Netherlands and Belgium remain open, the ministers announced in a joint press release, but unnecessary trips should be postponed.

“The virus does not take national borders into account, so we will have to do it instead,” said Verlinden (CD&V). “Crossing the border to go to a bar or restaurant, or for a day of shopping only fuels the further spread of the virus on both sides of the border.”

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The number of infections and hospital admissions due to Covid-19 continues to increase all across Europe. Belgium and the Netherlands have both recently introduced measures, and Belgium is expected to introduce stricter ones again today.

“We need to take firm action,” said Dutch Minister for Justice and Security, Ferd Grapperhaus. “We realise that it requires a lot of people, but if we put our shoulders to the wheel together, we will get the coronavirus back under control.”

“This also means not visiting our Belgian neighbours for a while,” he said. “Do not cross the border if you do not have to.”

Citizens have to “assume their (international) solidarity and responsibility,” as that is the only way to slow down the virus in both countries.

“If we do not comply now, we will soon have to put a stop to all social contacts. And no one wants that,” stressed Verlinden.

People who do make a trip to the Netherlands or Belgium, in spite of the recommendation, have to respect the country’s measures, not only during their visit, but also after their return, they warned.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times